A Conversation With One Of Them

A Conversation With One Of Them

A Story by Willys Watson
"

A very short story based on a conversation I had several weeks ago.

"

A Conversation With One Of Them


Like many other contractors and construction workers Daniel waited in the long checkout line of the lumber yard at his local Home Depot. He took the waiting in stride because, with four 4'x8' sheets of plywood on his hand truck, he was in no hurry to head out into the hot August sun.


When someone tapped him on the shoulder he assumed it was the man behind him who was pushing his own load of lumber and Sam welcomed the interaction as a diversion to both the heat and waiting.


"Can I ask you a question," the man, who was a large middle aged redhead, asked cautiously.


"Of course," Daniel replied as he looked over his shoulder while guiding his load forward a few steps.


"I don’t mean to be personal or anything but I’m curious because you look like one of us, you know."


I suppose I am."


"Well, I thought so but your shirt has me confused."


"Confused? Why?" Daniel wondered.


"It’s just that that gay guy pride thing on your shirt, you know?."


Daniel glanced down at the front of his t-shirt. Though the shirt was just one of many worn t-shirts he bought for work from the Salvation Army and the lettering was faded he was fond of it. Still, he quickly made the connection to the reference from the stranger and turned around to let him see the symbol and word on front of the shirt.


"Celtic?" he pondered aloud. "Is that like some Amazon lesbo logo thing?"


"No," Daniel chuckled while trying not to mock the man’s lack of historic knowledge. "I think it means being a fan of the Boston Celtics."


"That’s cool, but the pink ribbon and words look kinda lezzy to me."


"They’re faded and were probably red before too many washings. I like this shirt because it reminds me my father’s side of the family is Scottish."


"Good you’re one of us because you had me worried for awhile and there aren’t very many of us in this area," the man laughed, nodded his head then winked knowingly.


Daniel did not reply to him because he was nearing the checkout counter. When the cashier scanned his plywood and he paid for the lumber he headed towards the exit door, letting the security guard check his receipt, then waited just outside the door until the stranger pushed his own lumber cart into the open.


"I figure it’s my turn to ask a few question it that’s okay with you," Daniel suggested as the man neared where he was standing.


"Yeah, dude, go for it."


"I was just thinking about expanding my collection of videos," Daniel started casually while they pushed their carts in a parallel line into the parking lot.


"Videos? Like movies?"


"No, man, I can get those anywhere. I mean by, you know, the really hot stuff."


Oh, yeah! I’ve got a pretty good stash of the best hard you can find. But I’m old school and like the old ones best when the chicks still had hair. All natural, no plastic and no kinky stuff either."


"Me neither, all natural is the best, and man do I love the girls," Daniel agreed. When the man nodded his head Daniel asked his intended question, "But how would you feel if the government, or even some church group sanctioned by the government, came in and took your porn stash, invaded your privacy and punished you for your lifestyle?"


"I ain’t gonna happen and I’ll protest like hell because it’s my private life and nobody else’s business."


You’re totally right, my friend," Daniel agreed, then continued, "but shouldn’t the same rights to personal privacy apply to everyone in a democracy?"


"Of course," the man responded, then went silent for a moment. "But, wait now! Are you suggesting what I think you’re suggesting?"


"Same personal rights for everyone."


"No, dude, because being gay is anti-American, anti-Christian."


"Except Jesus never mentioned homosexuality. I think He had a lot more to worry about, like hypocrisy, casting stones. But the Old Testament sure doesn’t like jerking off."


"My hunch was right. You’re just one of them goddamn liberals trying to set me up and trick me!" he screamed as he jerked his hand truck away and headed in the opposite direction.


Daniel didn’t bother to respond and sadly shook his head as he pushed his own cart of plywood towards his truck’s parking space. Of course he had set the bigot up because he himself didn’t have a porn library at home and guessed rightly the other man did, but Daniel felt no guilt because the point he was making deserved to be made. And how does any rational person effectively reply to perceptions of stereotypes from those with ingrained bias? Daniel usually did what he could with a subtle metaphor and let the other person make the intended connection. Ironically, he didn’t even consider himself liberal or conservative. If a social, moral or religious explanation was expected of him he simply said he was a humanist and hoped there were enough people around who understand what being one means.


© 2017 Willys Watson



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To those of you who have already read this the last paragraph has been slightly edited and this is the published version.

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Added on August 27, 2017
Last Updated on August 29, 2017
Tags: Bias, bigotry, religion, construction

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Willys Watson
Willys Watson

Los Angeles, CA



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