Friday, July 13, 2007

death as a punchline

Back in the 90's, I lived in the Haight, and I was annoyed on a regular basis by a neighborhood watch group. These people wore garish chartreuse T-shirts with the word RAD ("Residents Against Druggies") on the front. Supposedly their mission was to stare down drug dealers and putative buyers on the street. Although I never was involved in a single drug deal, they got in my face all the time.

I noticed that the RAD folks were quite judgmental of people based on how they were dressed. When I crossed their paths as I came home late from the office in my Italian wool business suits and heels, they positively beamed at me. After I'd changed at home and gone out again in a miniskirt and Doc Martens, they aggressively gave me the evil eye.

My ex-husband and I were irritated by statements the founder of RAD, Joe Konopka, made where he said he didn't want to run just "druggies" out of the Haight, but he also wanted to get rid of "stores that sell leather underwear" and other unwholesome things. We were precisely the sort of people who might very well buy leather underwear, and we wished to keep our retail options open. My ex was quite vitriolic on the subject of RAD, and when its activities eventually petered out, we did not miss RAD. I didn't hear anything of Konopka after he made an unsuccessful run for city office.

I think most people forgot about RAD entirely. Last year someone tried to create a citizens' street patrol in the Castro, and the newspapers cooed that this was the very first citizens' group to patrol the streets of San Francisco.

Today I was spellbound to read in the Chronicle that Joe Konopka died in an SM scene this week. It turns out that Konopka had weekly SM scenes at his home in the Haight while his wife was at her school board meetings. His death is being treated as a homicide, although I suspect it was a breath control game which went too far. Someone called 911 from Konopka's home (probably his play partner) but prudently left before the police arrived. The man who wanted a less seamy Haight without drugs or fetishware was himself playing dangerous, seedy games which cost him his life. When I die, I hope it's not in a spectacularly ironic fashion (what would be spectacularly ironic in my case? If I poisoned myself with my own cooking? Electrocuted by trying to blog in the bathtub? ).


hughman said...

what is it with judgemental people and their dirty secrets? repubs, preachers, the lot of them.

Silliyak said...

Hard to imagine living with all that self hatred.

Amy said...

That's hilarious. You should cross-post this on the SFGate site.

Also, I vote for blog-induced-electrocution as the most ironic death for you. Or anything involving kittens (which must of course survive whatever killed you).

I am going to try to make it to the Glen Park Ghana Orphanage thing tomorrow.

hughman said...

maybe you'd get pummeled to death by those thingys that fall on the porch.

the Drunken Housewife said...

If I live here long enough, I'll definitely fall on refuse from that fucking magnolia tree and break a hip, and then (if he's still alive) Iris's cat Frowsty will eat me.

hughman said...

well if it's any consolation. you are definately a meal fit for a king.

M said...

OMG, I totally remember "RAD" from back when I worked at Ameba clothing! They did indeed suck (and those green shirts were just plain ugly - but, at least they were clearly marked.)

Thanks for the update/blast from the past!

Anonymous said...

That is absolutely untrue. Not only was Joe not against drug us, per se (he only wanted the sales of drugs off the streets because at the time there as a lot of crack going on here in the Haight) but he NEVER wanted "unwholesome things" taken out of the neighborhood. I knew Joe for many years, and he was absolutely "live and let live" when it came to stuff like that. Before you go slandering the dead, you might want to make sure you know what you're talking about, because clearly, you don't.

the Drunken Housewife said...

Dear Wanda, sorry for your loss. I understand that your perception is different than mine, but mine is based on what I know and experienced. I lived in the neighborhood. I was regularly aggravated by RAD, despite the fact that I never conducted any drug transactions (I was a lawyer). I followed local politics closely, and as one involved in the SM community at the time, I paid closer attention to public debate over SM issues than I suspect you did.

Anonymous said...

Dear sweet wanda,
could it be that perception is reality?
the DH's reality is that of a man who led a judgemental group of people.
She didn't seem at all in her post to be judgemental as much as she was noting how interesting it was.
So, sweet Wanda, dig out that Green shirt, put on your best leather undies and have a great day.