Page 5 of 7
To those who said his hatred was dangerous, he'd tell them that Hitler did not say he hated the Jews; he would use the third person. "I got this from Martin Buber, the German existentialist. His main book was I-Thou, and he said we only care about people in the I-Thou mode. That when we're talking about someone in the third person, it's somewhat cold, detached."
But Hate realized it wasn't enough just to tell others that he hated them; he needed others to tell him the same. "I don't trust you unless you say, 'I hate you.' You don't have to mean it. As long as you're willing to say it."
While Hate's ideology had manifested verbally, it had not yet done so physically. It was the late-Seventies, and by then Hate had been in Berkeley for several years and made friends with quite a few street people. He was living in a studio near Telegraph Avenue, letting as many as ten or twelve people stay with him a night. He charged them about $1 a day, depending on how many people there were, but not everyone wanted to pay. So Hate devised a system where they would have to "push" him in order to stay without paying. It involved lining up shoulder to shoulder and pushing their weight against one another. "It's not domination. It's not strength," Hate said. "It's some kind of chi thing. It's a way to feel it, who wants it more." Eventually, he said, people would cough up a few cents here, a few cents there, and maybe a few dollars when they'd get a paycheck.
Hate and a group of others also started drumming on buckets, which became a fixture — and a headache — in Sproul Plaza for years.
To match his newfound perspective, Hate's appearance altered appropriately. He began wearing different-colored shoes. "That was partly an attention-getting device when I came out of the fountain because I couldn't start a conversation with someone I didn't know," said Hate. "Because I want to get noticed, I hate to be ignored. And then people notice me and say, 'Why do you wear two different shoes?'" He began wearing dresses and skirts for similar reasons. "I'm a Taoist. I'm an atheist. A Taoist believes in the duality. So that's also a signal that I'm unorthodox in some basic ways, yin and yang."
Meanwhile, Hate began dating an artist named Jade (née Alison Furth), who had just divorced her husband and had a young son named Kasha. In 1982, Hate and Furth had a daughter named ZiZi — thus beginning the first family application of oppositionality.
"I did his whole philosophy," Furth said. "It was started before, sure, but it was like being with a celebrity. I had to deal with it. I took care of the kids, but it was difficult because he would push with anybody. There'd be a knock at 2 a.m. and it would be someone asking to push-pull to come in. And we had small children."
Hate was far from a conventional father — more what Furth calls "Mister Mommy." Even his parenting style reflected oppositionality. "The kids would zoom by, and they'd see cookies or something, and so Kasha would stop and push hard," Furth recalled. "Mark's smoking a cigarette, and then, finally, Kasha would see something else and zoom away, or he would really dig in and want that cookie. They just would not demand things. They knew they could get whatever they wanted, if they wanted it bad enough."
But oppositionality wasn't an easy thing to incorporate into his relationships. "He never said he loved me," Furth said. "He never said anything positive, because he feels like it dissipates it. It only lasts until something bad happens and hate comes out. But I wanted him to say, 'I love you.'"
In the beginning of their relationship, Hate said they engaged in a two-hour push because she wanted him to say, "I love you." He won. "I don't say 'I love you' to anyone," he said.
After almost five years together, Furth broke up with Hate. By then, Hate was well acquainted with street life from the various homeless people he hung out with. So in 1986, he decided to try outdoor living himself.
It turned out to be the life he'd always wanted.
Street life not only means freedom for Hate, it's also free. He doesn't have to work — just "hustle here, hustle there," mostly to get money for cigarettes. He no longer does drugs because he says he doesn't like the low that follows the high and he'd rather be level all the time. He gets coffee from the free meals served in the park but does not eat the food. Instead, when he gets hungry, he roots through trashcans. When he needs money, he scrounges for bottles and cans to recycle, or for BART cards with change on them so that he can then compile and sell them. He's mindful of not relying on others for his needs, saying he is "bored" with government services and does not claim Social Security.
"I'm addicted to it," Hate said of the homeless life. "It's fresh air. It's exciting. It's very Zen. There are problems with it but it's very immediate — whether it's weather or a ticket or a psycho. Whereas rent, those are longer-term problems." For a while, he slept in a friend's garage but found that it would make other homeless people jealous. He finds it easier to sleep on the street, where everyone is equal.