Well I just got back from Sixth Street for Halloween, and if you don't know what Sixth Street is, then it sucks to be you. I went to my old pre-kid haunt Emo's for the first time in over a decade and actually took my daughter (she really wanted to go); and yes, we had the best costumes there (I was GI Elvis, and looked quite spiffy in my camos, purple shades, and fake sideburns). I'd tell you what she was, but I'm afraid you might not approve.
But that isn't what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about religious people and why the hell they have to block up the street on Halloween. For those who don't know Sixth Street here in Austin, it's a street with a bunch of bars that they block off from car traffic on busy nights so drunk people can walk wherever they want without getting runover. It's usually pretty crowded, even in the street. and on Halloween, it's jam packed. It took us twenty minutes just to walk a few blocks.
But the worst part was the intersection where the Jesus freaks were. Now don't get me wrong, I'm cool with people believing whatever the hell they want to believe, just as long as they don't interfere with me. And that's exactly what these jerkoffs did. They were stopped in the middle of a huge pedestrian jam and beat their tambourines and wore their religious shirts. One guy seemed to be of the opinion that people don't know the Ten Commandments enough, so he had to wear it on a t-shirt. And thank god too, as I was just about to covet somebody's stuff until I saw that shirt.
And that just sucked. The pedestrian traffic went from slow to a complete stop, thanks to those bozos. Because they just stood there in a big group blocking a major part of the road. And what were they doing there? Did they really think they were going to convert somebody right there on Sixth Street? Did they imagine that they'd finally find that dude who would gladly convert to Christianity, if only a schmuck in a t-shirt blocked his path to the next bar? Is it possible that there exists somebody who hasn't heard of Jesus yet, and is just ripe for conversion...on Sixth Street?
I doubt it. I think they were just trying to be a-holes and to start a fight. Like it makes them feel righteous to piss people off and get yelled at. Not that I saw anyone yell at them. In fact, for as much as there is a "war on religion" and this being Austin...on Sixth Street...on Halloween, I think everyone was pretty cool with them. I mean, there were freaks dressed as devils and devils dressed as freaks, and yet I didn't see anyone mess with these guys. And if anyone deserved to be messed with, it'd be these guys. I'm telling you, I just needed to get my daughter home as she has school in the morning, and these guys were totally stopping that from happening.
And I saw something similar last year, except it was just one dude preaching really loudly. And while he personally didn't create too much of a barrier (except that he was standing on a platform), there were always people standing around with big smirks on their faces, and that blocked the road too. And from what I could tell, he wasn't even trying to convert anyone. He was just ranting about all the people with the smirks on their faces, which was everyone, and how he can put up with it. As if this was a test of his will power and faith in Jesus. As if this was all about him.
And it was. Just as it was about the jerks who blocked the way tonight. They weren't trying to save my soul. They didn't really believe they'd find that one guy who hadn't yet heard of Jesus Christ. They were just trying to feel holy and important. This was all about them, and we were just props in their little test of faith. They didn't care if they were blocking the road or preventing my daughter from getting home. They just wanted a little taste of martyrdom; to reconfirm their religiousity by going directly into the belly of the beast and confronting the Devil himself. That's all this was about.
Again, this shouldn't be construed as any kind of attack on religion, because it's not. Religious people do a lot of good things in the name of religion and I won't knock them for that at all. But these guys were something completely different. They weren't raising money for pregnant teens or building homes for the homeless. They weren't even trying to convert us. They were selfishly wasting my time in order to feel better about themselves, and that's just wrong. If they've got nothing better to do on Halloween than to stand around looking dumb, that's their business. But they've got no right to make the rest of us stand around with them. That's just not how this shit works. You mind your business, I'll mind mine; and if one of us wants to be converted to the other person's business, then we know where to find it.
And no, it's not on Sixth Street. That's just the place you go when you want to look like an idiot and have people compliment you for it. And yes, I got quite a few compliments as GI Elvis. But then again, I really did look pretty cool.
P.S. If you ever get the chance, I recommend seeing Nebula (though they sound much better in person than their lousy MySpace page would indicate (their music is like metally Hendrix)), and I strongly recommend seeing Static Static, even though we had to leave the show much too early. Good stuff.