Indiana is Trump territory, so I often find myself surrounded by good ol boys and me with my Black Lives Matter to Bernie Sanders button and my car plastered in leftist stickers.
This morning my neighbor was struggling with a flat tire, so I told him to throw it in my car and I drove to this wheel shop in the hood that I have frequented for years.
As they were working on his tire, you could see all the guys in the office pointing at my car and talking.
I imagined, perhaps falsely, that they were thinking I was a communist, even though I doubted that any of them could even give a definition of what the word meant.
I reminded myself that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.
I went into the office and asked if one of them would look at my tires and tell me if I needed any replacements.
I mentioned that I had to drive to Philadelphia this weekend.
They looked at my nerdy neighbor and my Bernie Sanders button and I imagined that I could feel a chill in the air.
Through an odd twist of fate, I end up standing in some wheel shop that’s 110 degrees, with my white entitlement, asking these blue collar dudes to get on their knees and look at my tires.
I always have trouble asking people to serve me.
I don’t like to put myself above anyone.
I have to remind myself that for this to work, we have to all serve one another.
One of the guys went out, hit the dirt, checked everything out and told me that all my tires were good and I tossed him a few bucks to adjust the pressure.
We don’t want any blowouts on the road to restoring democracy.
I stood there, trying not to look at my phone, because I was already feeling inconsequential and elitist and to even look at it would have been tantamount to firing a Hispanic maid for stealing money off the dresser and then finding it in my coat pocket a week later.
So I just stood there watching him air up my tire.
That was my penance for automotive ignorance.
When he was finished, we went into the office so I could pay and one of the guys asked…
“You need any Trump stickers for your car? I got a bunch?”
They all laughed.
“I’m good.” I said with a smile.
“What are you goin’ to Philly for?” one of the gentlemen queried.
“We’re going to stop Hillary Clinton.” I replied.
They all burst into laughter and said words of approval.
“I bet you guys like Trump for the same reasons I like Bernie.” I said “He doesn’t take any shit and he speaks up for the working man, guys like you and me.”
At the end of my sentence, I rolled up my sleeve, revealing my Bernie Sanders tattoo.
These guys all had tattoos and I wanted them to know that our tribes weren’t so different.
“What do you think of Trump taking Mike Pence as his VP?” one man asked.
“Honestly, Trump did me a favor. I’ve been trying to get that piece of shit out of Indiana for two years.”
There were laughs all around, so I continued speaking..
“Pence is always trying to take rights away from women. It’s her goddamned body. It ain’t none of my business what a woman does with her body and it ain’t none of Mike Pence ‘s business either.”
All the men nodded in agreement.
I thought how much better our world had become in my short life, that even these guys, who I probably don’t agree with on some issues, could still recognize that a woman’s right to choose is sacred.
I paid and got the fuck outta Dodge.
As I was leaving, one of the guys yelled.
“I think Bernie’s alright!!”
And one of the other guys said
“Hey! I do, too!!”