Baseball is our country's favorite past-time, apparently. It's as American as apple pie and homophobia. (The obvious response is that other countries have homophobia -- so also do they have apple pie.) At least, I might not have merged the two so willingly before last night, since the arena of sports, while to me is dull beyond reasoning, is usually civil-ish, despite the odd riot on a soccer field. I have always been bored to snores by sports, but I try very hard on special occasions to be interested enough when anyone I know is participating. It's important to show support (if I had a dollar for every atrocious play I've sat through because a friend of mine was an actor, I could buy my own theatre). I suppose we all have our crosses to bear.
So it was that last night I found myself under the bright stadium lights of a local softball game. While the talent on the field was measurable even to me, it was only thanks to a couple of cold beers brought by a mutual friend that I found myself at all invested. The friend in question who was playing did an admirable job, and admittedly my interest perked just enough to enjoy myself whenever he strode to the home plate to bat or a pop-fly made a perfect parabola toward him in the out-field (look at all these technical terms. I am a regular Joe DiMaggio...).
The conversation in the stands, however, was decently entertaining. Surrounded by the girlfriends of various players, there was much teasing, carousing, talk of upcoming weddings and pregnancies, and all around good atmosphere. Somehow, however, the conversation drastically veered into whether or not these particular females had ever kissed members of their same sex, to which there was much feminine giggling and blushing. The girlfriend of the very friend who I had come to watch play intimated that her boyfriend had in fact kissed another man before (little did they know this man was me during a spirited cast party). The reaction suddenly changed from light-hearted to insulting.
To my immediate left sat a woman who reeked of suburbanite futility -- the overdone layering of her hair, badly applied makeup, and slightly too-hip clothing made it obvious that she was gunning for an age she had surpassed a decade ago. She had the vapid, robotic stare of a certain Asimov protagonist that had put me on edge all night with a feeling of foreboding that she did not fail to justify. At hearing that a young man she knew had engaged in a homosexual act, her face suddenly assumed all expression that I think Botox might have rendered useless previously, and made sounds of petulant disgust. She then drew her electric-pink windbreaker-clad arms over her head and began to sing: "La! La! La! La! LA! LA! LA! LA! LA!" to drown out the apparently immoral insinuation. She followed it up with: "I never want to think of [name redacted] doing something like that!"
Despite my stomach instantly turning with regret that her exterior visage was exactly as empty as her interior one, I found myself filled with anger over being able to do nothing about it. Surrounded as I was with women who were undoubtedly her friends, and an entire team of ball players who were just as undoubtedly as friendly to her and perhaps of the same mindframe, an argument with her would have been futile. I have never been able to swallow homophobia lightly, and were it not for my loveliest of friends giving me a consoling look, and another saying: "She can be a moron, just ignore her.", I might have caused a public disturbance of a kind.
Moron is putting it lightly. The moment someone is willing to express however indirectly that their sense of morality comes from a daily devotional, the cover of which is likely the same garish pink as her wind-breaker, they immediately remove themselves from the respect of a humanist. I'm sure that outside of that ten-second tantrum, she was a tolerable woman, perhaps even a nice one. But this episode was far more demonstrable of her interior character and left a rancid taste in my mouth. There are those who think that the comparison is extreme, but anyone who has the sheer trolodytian fortitude to banner their ignorance in such a way might as well pick up a sign and go and join WBC. The line is seriously that distinct.
My point is, gentle readers: the nonsense still exists. I forget at times, being nestled comfortably in my happily weird and very open community of Missoula, that in places merely an hour away and closer that it is acceptable for people to flaunt their bigotry in public and for those who would rightly correct them to be talked down. This example, I would submit, is the softest and least radical compared to the true horrors that are being committed against the homosexual community in our country and around the world. But somehow -- somehow -- I can't help but feeling that the humanist resistance begins somewhere, no matter how small. Why not in a baseball field in northwest Montana? If one less woman (who I am now done teasing, as I feel I have done more than I was initially justified), can put down her Bible and think for herself, isn't that worth being outraged about? Doesn't it justify this blog and so much, much more?
Perhaps I am being overly sensitive. I'd rather not take the risk of the inverse.