The elderly woman approached our table, her arm hooked through that of a younger companion, probably her daughter, who was wearing a MAGA mask 12 days post Biden victory.
“Ahhhh! Here’s some folks who like President Trump!” the older woman said with obvious delight.
Six faces stared back. My forkful of overpriced cheese grits hovered halfway to my mouth, so great was my shock. The grits and I were both quivering, uncertain which direction to take.
“We love him, don’t we?” she continued.
We looked at one another, three couples stealing away for a socially distanced birthday celebration, still not catching.
“No, we definitely don’t,” we said, clearly horrified. I was dying to ask them why they thought we were Trump fans. Was it because we were white and a certain age, dining in an upscale restaurant in conservative South Carolina? Yep.
While I am grateful as all get out to South Carolina for singlehandedly resuscitating Biden’s candidacy back in the primaries (I’m convinced he was the only one who could’ve beaten Trump in the end), there are a LOT of “Confederate American” bumper stickers and oversized Gun Lovers for Trump flags wherever you go. Even the Uber driver seemed shocked we would believe Anthony Fauci instead of her “gut instinct” that she’ll never catch COVID because she’s built up immunity by being around so many people. In other words, there’s a distressing amount of unapologetic crazy in these parts.
Back at our table, the women prattled on about Trump’s eventual second term (once the fraud is revealed) and then announced they were visiting from Kentucky and thank God their Mitch McConnell beat that woman who wants to make everybody have a late-term abortion.
Who wants crème brulee?
A half hour later, as we waited for our ride in the parking lot, there they were again. Two men and another woman had surfaced, also from Kentucky.
“Just walk past,” I hiss-whispered to my friend who proceeded to not do anything of the kind instead opting for full-blown confrontation.
I’ll spare you the details but trust me when I say there’s not a doubt in my mind these people are in the “Michelle Obama’s a man” basket of deplorables, a phrase Hillary should’ve totally owned instead of shrunk from because of its admirable accuracy.
One of the Kentuckians, perhaps trying to make peace, said they had a Democratic governor, but he said it like he was owning up to peeing in the shower. Yeah, it’s the truth but I’m not proud of it.
Here’s the thing. Ever since the election we’ve heard the phrase “we are a nation divided” over and over but it doesn’t really sink in until you’ve had this kind of unprovoked personal run-in with “the others.”
We now live in a world where you can expect to be harangued in a restaurant – twice – for not being a member of the cult. “Nation divided” doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Celia Rivenbark wonders if the makers of off-brand wipes are secretly overjoyed at pandemic. Sani-Happy-Home for the win.