Sunday, December 29, 2013

I Had Everything In Common With This Guy Until I Noticed His Ron Paul T-Shirt

Act #363:  Walk your own talk.  This one's hard.  Really, really hard.

So there I was at a quaint bed and breakfast miles and miles away from civilization.  My husband and I decided to grab a cup of coffee and sit by the fireplace for a few moments before the 9 a.m. breakfast bell rang.  Almost immediately, a father with a baby carrier and a diaper bag plopped down next to me - no mother in sight.  And I immediately thought to myself, "Great!  A progressive, equally involved dad who isn't afraid to carry around a flowery diaper bag!" We all ooh-ed and ahh-ed over his adorable 4-month old son and began doing the small obligatory chit-chat: Where are you from?  What do you do? What brings you here?  It turns out he and his wife were on a little getaway from Indianapolis.  They also had another 3-year-old who they left at home with grandma.  We quickly commiserated about those early sleepless baby years, shared our love for the Indianapolis Children's Museum and how it was so cool, we'd even go without our kids.  He and my husband started talking about their love affairs with insanely compact, quirky, difficult to maintain European cars.  And then his wife joined us and she was just as delightful.  Like me, she had been to this bed and breakfast before (on a "girl's trip with her mother and daughter) and wanted to share the experience with her husband.    And then the breakfast bell rang and I was actually looking forward to sharing a meal with perfect strangers with whom we seemed to connect so well.  And then my new friend got up and handed his baby to his wife revealing in all its glory, a blue and white Ron Paul 2012 t-shirt. 

Oh.  My.  God. 

I was on the verge of "liking" someone who desired to see the "Godfather of the Tea Party" run our nation.  Someone who believed the U.S. should withdraw from the United Nations, who opposed any kind of immigration reform, universal healthcare, or a woman's right to choose....and who believes that the Civil Rights Act was a federal interference with individual liberty.

I was so devastated with this realization that I could barely enjoy the beautiful gourmet breakfast sitting in front of me.  At that point, everything kind of went south, at least in my mind.  As the biscuits and oatmeal were served, the Ron Paul couple held hands and prayed over their food.   And I thought (aka "judged") to myself, "Of course they are fanatics.  Clearly, we can't invite them to play Cards Against Humanity with us over bourbon and coke later on."  And then I got irate in my own mind because the Ron Paul supporter (that is all I reduced him to at that point) just sat at the head of the table and didn't assist his wife with that baby once.  He just kept eating and eating, while she tried to get a bite of her oatmeal while juggling their 4-month old on her lap. Of course he's one of "those" dads.  If he doesn't believe in a woman's right to choose, why would he believe in shared caregiving responsibilities for their child?  Keep in mind, it was less than five minutes ago that I saw this very same man as a cool and progressive dad.  And just when I was about to completely write them off as "people who couldn't possibly have anything in common with us", the wife did something awesomely unexpected and amazing.  Her baby cried.  And so she whipped out a beautiful scarf......and her left breast - and by golly, she nursed that child right there and then at the breakfast table.....all while smiling and enjoying her farm fresh eggs.  And for the remainder of the breakfast, I managed to reserve judgment long enough to actually enjoy the company of people with whom I had at least one thing in common. Probably not much else, but it was certainly a start.

Photo credit:  cypresskid

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