© 2020

VITRIOL

By Eric Anthony Kallins

While living in LA, I became friends with a single lesbian woman named Toni. Out of drug treatment and sober, Toni got a job as an outreach worker working LA’s skid row area. She came across a woman living out of a shopping cart and working as a prostitute. And the woman had a newborn baby. Toni asked her what she was going to do about the baby boy, and the woman handed it over to Toni. Toni said “cool” and took it. At that time I was working sales jobs in LA, so one day I went to a business mixer at the Holiday Inn right off the 405. It was a typical mixer, where people in various jobs exchanged business cards. One I took was from a lawyer.

Toni asked me what she could do about the baby, and I connected her to that lawyer. Although he had no experience in adoption law, he decided to handle her case. He got her adoption legal, but in the meantime the mother, still living on the street doing her trade, got pregnant 3 other times, each with a difference client/father. Toni decided that these three new babies were her son’s half-brothers, and through our mutual lawyer, legally adopted all of them.

The reason I’m telling you this tale, and the next one, is a very unpleasant experience I had years later. But first another true tale: I met a very talented singer/songwriter named B.C. Cliver and helped her record a song demo in Petaluma, just North of SF. When BC decided to get married to Margaret (both are lesbian women) she asked me to provide the music as a piano player.  BC had an amazing female baritone voice, and chose Stevie Wonder songs to sing as part of the ceremony. I learned to play those songs in BC’s keys. BC dressed as a samurai and Margaret as a woods goddess, and the ceremony was beautiful and went well.

The reason I’m writing this is to set up a very unpleasant experience I had years later at a sales job in Oakland. I had a great sales manager, (and any salesperson will tell you that really makes a difference!) and I had a problem with one of my sales, so I needed her advice. She was sitting down with a saleswoman at her computer; I had to wait my turn. She said the lady was getting married and planning her honeymoon; they had to plan her vacation time. Waiting my time, I casually said, “Oh, who is the lucky guy?”

The woman stood up, and yelled “why do I have to assume it’s a guy?” and started marching back and forth behind me, ranting about why did assume that it was a guy. It was just a casual comment; a time-filler. See the above stories regarding my relations with lesbians. This was 20 years ago, and language has been evolving since then. But one thing has been devolving: that is militancy. And with a tiny slip of a word, this woman went totally ballistic. I understand working for your cause, but do you realize the harm you’re doing to yourself and your cause when you go into attack mode? I was the wrong man/male to target your vitriol.