So, I kind of hate to post this. I have been terrible about updating my blog lately. We’ve had a very busy, but great summer with lots of good things happening that I really should be writing about – our trip to Utah back in the spring, some cool backyard landscaping projects, a couple pool parties, a camping trip, river rafting, a brand new truck, river tubing, lots of good bike rides with the dogs, lots of days swimming in the pool, and a relatively good visit with family members. So I sort of hate to go and post something negative.

But this incident made me cranky today. So there you have it.

We were at the courthouse to get plates for our new truck. Montana has an enormous number of specialty plates to choose from to support various organizations. They had a big display on the wall, so we wandered over to look over our options while we waited for them to call our number. We considered keeping our current plate (supporting the Spay and Neuter Task Force), but sort of wanted to try something new.

Our Old Plate

Our old plate for the Spay and Neuter Task Force.

As we browsed the plates, we heard a deep voice say something like “pretty soon even the queers and lesbians will have a plate.” From his tone you could tell he didn’t much like this prospect.

Now, I am not very confrontational and had no wish to get in an argument with someone in a public place. But his comment burned me. For one, there would be nothing wrong with a gay or lesbian group sponsoring a license plate. The “Montana Right to Life Association Educational Trust” has a plate, after all, and abortion is a controversial political issue.

But the other issue was just his derisive tone. And the fact that I really don’t think it was a coincidence that he chose to make this comment right at that moment when two women were standing there discussing the plates they wanted for their vehicle.

Now, unlike me, Renee is not afraid of confrontation (she is a combat veteran after all). She turned to the man and asked, “Is that really an appropriate comment?”

I think he was surprised to be challenged. He dug in his heels “well what else am I going to call queers and lesbians? It’s politically correct.”

Somehow I don’t think his comment had anything to do with “political correctness.”

Renee replied “you’re a rude man. And you’re teaching that to your son. That was an inappropriate comment.”

This went on for a few minutes more, with him focusing on “what else am I going to call them.” He threw in the word “faggot” somewhere along the way and groused that “its pretty common around here.” So there are just too many of those queers and lesbians here in Missoula? Or something?

Somehow we continued looking at the plates and agreed on the one to get (Montana Audobon – we liked the image of the birds.)

The new plate

Our new plate supporting Montana Audobon

Renee was still steaming. But I was proud of her. She managed the entire confrontation without raising her voice, causing a scene, getting in a fight, or calling him any sort of name. She just pointed out that the was being rude. That’s all.

I guess the whole point is, people can think whatever they like and believe whatever they like. I mean, I’ve certainly seen people out in public who appear to live their lives in a way with which I might disagree. But I don’t go out of my way to insult those people when I see them. I ignore them and go about my own business. Because I don’t see a need to be purposely rude to strangers.

(On another note – technology is cool. I drafted most of this post on my phone while we waited for them to call our number. Just edited and filled in a few bits later on at home.)

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