I’m sure it doesn’t help that I am the youngest person in my department at the age of 27 (which I still think is old), but my tolerance of nonsensical drivel that comes out of people’s mouths has decreased with every passing day.
I work in an office environment, if I can even call it that. I call it “Prison w/ Decent Benefits.” I barely have anyone that I can relate to for 8 hours of my life, 5 days a week. Most of the employees in this department are in their late 40s or 50s, close to retiring or barely alive (Here’s the real reason why you can’t find a job, 25-35 year olds!). Anyone that I can even consider close to my age is nearing 36, is married and has kids. So, the stench of the generation gap is strong here. Or it’s the old people smell. Close enough.
As I was sitting at the front desk of the lobby area, covering a break for the young temp worker they hired until the big wigs figure out what they want to do with this open position, an older gentleman (dare I call him that) appeared at the front desk. He began to create idle small talk about the new mailing system that had been installed earlier that day, along with the utilities department coming tomorrow to fix issues with carpet bubbling in certain rooms. Earlier that week he had to stay late, along with our head administrator, to make sure that each room had gotten done. However, they missed a few spots and would be returning Saturday morning.
“She told them they better be done by 10am.” He proclaimed, regarding the head administrator’s comments about having to come in on Saturday morning. “She said she doesn’t want to get stuck in that mess.”
“What mess?” I asked, confused. “Is there an event this weekend or something?” I’m completely unaware of major events happening in my current city, because I’ve been too preoccupied with trying to stay alive. The struggle from the recession is real.
“Uh, yeah.” He answered, surprised at my lack of knowledge. “The retarded festival is this weekend.”
A blank stare appears on my face, signaling that I’m still lost on what the hell he was talking about.
“It’s that Gay Pride festival they have every year that clogs up downtown for 5 hours.” He states, shaking his head in annoyance. “Like I said, the retarded festival.”
I laughed in utter disbelief, not at the fact that poor residences or even businesses in the downtown area would be trapped for a very large event and parade. But, at the terms he used to describe a Gay Pride festival and parade that has been a tradition in this city for well over 30 years (With George Takei being the Grand Marshall for the parade this year. Oh my!)
“Really? The retarded festival?” I asked, my brain still trying to process how he came up with such a name.
“Well, that’s what that stuff is: retarded.” He stated with a laugh as he made his way out the glass doors, probably to spit more crap from that hole on this face.
Listen, I get it. Not everyone is in support of Gay Rights and the LGBTQIA (that’s a lot of letters, guys) fight towards equality. Whether it is for religious reasons, personal disdain towards people of the same gender being able to love each other openly, or fear. There is no reason to give it such a shitty name. Not only does it offend the very people risking their lives for this cause, it insults people with disabilities and mental incapability.
I mean, come on, “Retarded Festival?!”
2 reasons this hit me personally:
I have a great-aunt, who I love deeply and need to spend more time with because she is downright awesome, that is a lesbian. This woman is in her 50s and still looks like she’s in her late 30s (Black people age well. Be jealous). She has been openly gay for many years, has a daughter and a granddaughter that she loves dearly, has a fun and hilarious personality and a great outlook on life. I mean, she can out skate me at a roller rink with ease and dance me under the table! I can’t dance well anyway, but that’s not the point.
I also happen to have a cousin, the same age as myself, with downs syndrome. While she may be hard to comprehend when she speaks, and may not be able to grasp things as quickly as her peers, she’s still a feisty, fast talking girl who will probably beat your ass if you insult her or her family. She can argue with me about certain subjects and has had more boyfriends than I ever will.
They may not be the societal “norm,” but they are still humans, with lives, passions, ideas and rights.
People are not going to accept them and they know that. Do they care? No. They could’ve give two shits about what people think of them, yet they still exist and persevere. That’s what makes them even more courageous.
So, old man with a growing back problem who is married yet still hits on girls that could be his own daughters and thinks his voice matters, keep your opinions to your damn self. I’d dare you to say that in front of the very people you insult. But I doubt you will, because you’re a damn coward.
This is why some old people need to die off already. You’ve done your time. Please exit, stage left and off a cliff.