Shortly after moving to my city, I met a woman at the park. She was wearing a summer straw hat and seemed to be enjoying a slow morning walk. I complimented her on her hat, and she clutched at the opportunity for company.
I clutched back. She reminded me of my next-door neighbor in my recently-from town, and I fancied her a replacement of sorts. My old neighbor was a sweet, gracious, thoughtful woman, and she had died shortly before I moved, when she was 96. I hoped that like my old neighbor, this serendipitous meeting would offer me someone who would look forward to me stopping by unannounced from time-to-time, and who wouldn’t do the same to me.
This new acquaintance quickly established my political view, in particular longing to know that I did not like Donald Trump. We could agree whole heartedly on that. She invited me to stop by, told me which condo was hers, and I confirmed that I would come by sometime.
It didn’t take me long to fulfill my promise, and I popped over after finishing a walk with my dog. He was welcomed into her home with me. We talked about the latest political news, including the democratic nominees and who we thought could beat Trump. She had strong opinions and mentioned something about the country not needing a gay person in the white house. She used a pejorative word in her statement. Like many who think they have a commiserative companion, she had not considered other possibilities.
And still, I decided to visit her again — to give an old woman a bit of a hall pass for her ignorance, making excuses for her because of her country of origin, her age, etc.: my own ignorance showing. While I did challenge her and declare how much I was a Pete Buttigieg fan, I didn’t heed the incompatibility signs. I didn’t want to be judgmental, and damnit, I wanted another older friend I could feel good about myself for visiting. Funny how wishing not to be judgmental only meant I wouldn’t express my judgment.