I did the wrong thing, and now I realize what I should have said.
Here's the scene: I'm waiting in the lounge for my car to be finished; the other person waiting has just left. I'm reading a magazine and ignoring the talk show blaring on the TV. A person who works there stops by and makes some small talk; she wasn't the first, I guess they have a policy of not letting the customers feel abandoned. She asks if I saw who won the awards last night; I reply that I didn't watch it, and go back to reading the newsweekly. I realize I'm being impolite so I quickly say that I had heard Crash won best picture. The woman says that that's good; she didn't want Brokeback Mountain to win because "I don't like the idea that a movie about homosexuality would win a top award."
This is where I did the wrong thing. My immediate reaction was intense fury, but instead of acting on it, I immediately went into conflict-avoidance mode. I gave the briefest of shrugs before agressively burying my nose in my Newsweek, saying not one word more. She left. With steam pouring out of my ears, I quickly grabbed a pen to write what she'd said on the back of the magazine so I would remember it exactly when I told it to you.
I was, and am, so annoyed it's hard to pick just one aspect that bothered me the most. Her sheer homophobia. Her annoyance at a movie about homosexuality being not only widely accepted but honored. Her belief that this type of remark is acceptable small talk. Her unspoken assertation that a movie about homosexuality shouldn't win Best Picture, but a movie dealing with strong themes of racism and prejudice is ok. Her expectation that her view is so normal and common that I would share it.
Why did I shut down instead of calling her on it? I admit, I avoided a conflict. I saw nothing to be gained by calling her a homophobe and starting a fight, so I didn't. Screaming at people who are clearly ensconced in their views rarely has any effect.
My car was finished shortly and I left. I spent the ride home going over and over in my head what I should have said or done, and then when I got home I related the whole story to my husband, which was the first way to sort it through. The second way is to talk it over with you, fans and friends.
With the perspective of hindsight, I realize what I should have done was clearly, calmly state that it's sad that she feels that way, and gone back to my magazine to end the discussion. Not be confrontational, just simply articulate that it's a shame. Because it is. She's entitled to her views, I guess; but I could have made her aware that others don't necessarily share them, and maybe given her the idea that homophobia is not accepted by many, certainly not by me.
I wish I'd had the presence of mind to do that. Instead, I blew it. I was furious silently and just ignored her. Maybe that got the message across; I don't know. I wish I'd been able to be calm and strong and say what I should have said.