The Occasion: Midterm Election Night 2010
The Setting: A small apartment in a small town on the coast of New Hampshire
The Characters: Me & my boyfriend, a Coast Guard Democrat
The Mood: Hopeful but realistic. See also: downtrodden
Remember when I didn't care about politics? Remember when I started my first job in D.C. & needed a high school civics book to teach me the basics of government? Remember when I couldn't name a single senator except maybe Ohio's?
That was a long time ago. Since then, I've watched a handful of elections (& State of the Union addresses & other political events the average American replaces with "True Blood" & "Mad Men"), all with D.C. friends far more politically knowledgeable than me. I've watched with amusement as they yelled things like "It's all platitudes!" & "What is our metric of success?" at the television, measuring the likelihood of so-&-so beating so-&-so & calculating what it may mean for our country's future. I always feel invested, even if I have little to no idea what they're talking about.
I spent this election night quite differently, with no access to cable TV & only my Twitter feed to sate me. Also, an angry redneck hassling me about my political views outside my own home (& by "my," I mean "not really mine, but I've been here for two weeks so it feels like it") for no legitimate reason whatsoever.
We're in the parking lot, getting out of the car on our way home from WalMart ('MERIKA!) circa 8pm. "We need to get inside so I can obsess over election results!" I yelped. Nate's curmudgeonly neighbor, lingering nearby with his very cute dog, piped up: "Don't bother. The Republicans win." Unable to determine his party affiliations & figuring he was just making (truthful) small talk, I mumbled something neutral & unmemorable, such as "Yeah," or "Seems that way."
The neighbor went on to ask, with no small amount of disdain, whether I'm "one of those" hoping against a Republican takeover. With a friendly "We'll have to agree to disagree," I tried to turn the topic of conversation away from politics & toward aforementioned mutt, who is nuzzling my leg: "She's so cute! Can I pet her?"
This is where the curmudgeonly fella got way crankier than necessary - & where I found it necessary to hold myself together for the sake of loving thy neighbor, even when he is an a-hole. (Oh, that's not how the commandment is worded?) He proceeded to follow us inside & down a flight of stairs, hot on our heels us as we tried to unlock the apartment door, railing on & on about how it's been a long two years, how ObamaCare is ruining the world, & how the socialist agenda has taken over - but not anymore! Not now that America's party is about to regain control! On & on, just begging me to take the aggressive, ignorant bait.
But I bit my tongue. I swallowed my pride. I stayed the course. I engaged in a million other cliches to keep myself from saying a word to this unnecessarily mean & entirely unwelcome man who verbally assailed me & my belief system for no reason whatsoever. And then I did what any polite person would do: I gave him the stink-eye & mean-mugged him as best I could, then I shut the apartment door behind me & seethed. Loudly. It's not just that he was saying moronic things; it's that he had no reason to say them to a complete stranger except that a little Democratic girl in the parking lot made an easy target for his hostility.
Did the D.C. bubble have me this disillusioned? Is this what the rest of the world is like?! And in New England, of all places! My heart, it breaks.
I wish it were possible to TP apartments. Just sayin'.