After 1 1/2 years of living in the desert, my husband and I finally made the news locally. We are pictured and featured in an article about gays and the local housing market in Palm Springs. This is even more exiting because our picture was on the front page of the newspaper and we were "above the fold", which means we are what desert dwellers woke up to this morning on their breakfast tables. This would be enough of a story except that I do need to share what happened during the photo shoot.
As we were being photographed for the story, a car drove past and the occupant called out "FAGS!" and drove off. He did not drive far, he turned into a house two doors down form us. This unnerved me. Palm Springs is relatively gay-friendly and accepting, but to have a neighbor do this to us was beyond belief. We finished the photo shoot and our friend who was watching the dogs during the photo taking and my husband ,went to confront what we though was a college age kid at most. What we discussed was a drunk 45 year old man living with and possibly abusing his parents. The man came out of his house and pushed our friend and made thinly veiled threats to our safety. The cops were called by us.
The Palm Springs Police came by about three hours after our call letting us know they would look into the matter but that we should have not responded at all to the slurs hurled out of car windows. We did let them know that we normally do not, however a neighbor doing this was beyond the pale. Turns out the neighbor in question is well known to police who called an ambulance to pick him up and got an apology out of him before taking him to the hospital for alcohol intoxication and being off his psychotropic medications. His poor mother did try to apologize to us while we called the police.
About an hour after our phone call a strung out hippie on a bicycle came by and wanted to know why we couldn't all just get along and why we were the troublemakers in the neighborhood, since we do not want to have our neighbors have a permanent garage sale (Palm Springs allows two per residence per year with a permit only) and do not want to be verbally assaulted on our property. My husband had words with him that evening. This same man approached my mother the next day with the same requests. Apparently we are the bad guys for standing up for our right s and our neighborhood environs. Fine, we are the bad guys then.
Confrontations of any kind tend to unnerve me and to have three in one evening (drunk crazy guy, bicycle guy, police) unglued me a bit. I have recovered and my husband and our friend are my knights in shining armor, as always. Palm Springs is very gay and very accepting, but one must realize that there are pockets of hatred in every community. Rooting them out and holding them accountable is the hard part and that very rarely makes the front page.