An older man with white hair came up to me at my seat today at a basketball game. He said "May I take your picture? I said "Yes." And before I could offer for him to be in the picture with me, 6 inches from my face, he took my picture with his phone. He said "I'm from Big Stone gap." I said, "I love Big Stone Gap! What a beautiful town, I loved making the movie there." I went on to say how good the cooking is, mentioning, of course, the pineapple upside down cake and pumpkin pie!In my mind I was getting ready to ask him about the national parks and if he ever spends time in especially the Thomas Jefferson National Park – but something inside of me was already clenching and I concluded by simply saying "I like Big Stone Gap. "
He said to me with open hostility as he was backing away, "We like Trump."
Of course, it's very clear now that as I was being friendly and talking, his affect was angry, and he certainly didn't respond in anyway to my general enthusing about his little Appalachian town. And it's also clear that his entire approach to me and aggressive sticking his phone 6 inches in front of my face to take my picture was a part of his plan to treat me with rudeness, aggression, and disrespect. Who knows, maybe he's already done something undignified with the picture or maybe it was just a pretense so he could say something menacing to me.
I feel very sad that this happened, and frankly scared. We absolutely need apolitical spaces in this country where we come together for something that is beyond who voted for whom and the platforms, beliefs, and agendas of respective candidates.
I could've easily retorted to this man, for example, with "Well, I know everything I need to know about you now, Sir, you voted with the KKK."
Or perhaps another shot, such as "Well, I voted with the popular vote which you lost by the widest margin in American history." And dragged in his charming town like he had – "sorry to discover Big Stone gap is full of misogynists like you."