stevenpiziks: (Default)
stevenpiziks ([personal profile] stevenpiziks) wrote2017-05-19 07:06 am

A Curious Encounter

Last weekend, Darwin and I were on our way to a card game at some friends who live in a very conservative community.  We stopped at a grocery store for some party food, and at the check-out counter, I busied myself with the debit card and asked Darwin to start loading the bags into the cart.

"You're so good at that," chuckled the cashier, a dark-haired lady who was maybe 18 or 20.  "Are you his helper?"

"He's my husband," I said absently, "and he's eating this stuff, so he'd better help!"

"Really?" she said.  "That's so nice!"

For a confused moment, I thought she meant it was nice he was eating the food we bought.  Then she went on.

"It's so great you can be open about it," she said.  "Not everyone feels like they can be."

Oh!  Oddly, I hadn't even thought twice about it.  I've written about the twinge I felt whenever I said the words "my husband" in public, and here I'd said it without hesitation--or really noticing.

But the cashier wasn't finished.  "I'm Catholic, and the church doesn't support this kind of thing, but I don't feel that way.  I think you should love who you love."

She went on in this vein for several more sentences, actually.  I was a little startled.  We were edging toward the door--we were running late anyway--but she wouldn't stop talking.  At last another customer came up to her station, forcing her to turn away.  We waved a farewell and fled.

It was nice to get a message of support, especially from the Catholic sector in a conservative sector, and it was certainly better than scorn or derision.  And I wouldn't change anything if we did it over again--even today LGBT people come across as invisible, and saying things like "my husband" or doing things like holding hands in public reminds people not to assume everyone is straight.

But it was also a little embarrassing. I think her enthusiasm startled both of us a little, and we didn't quite know how to take it from a stranger.  It was a decidedly odd encounter.