Tuesday, July 4, 2017

All the Colors, All the Stripes

We were in an Uber. A hard, persistent rain had forced us to abandon our plan of wandering around Kensington Market for the afternoon. We'd arrived in Toronto a day earlier in the midst of a gay pride parade, the end (or beginning?) of which was only a block or so away from our hotel. There were rainbows everywhere: painted on people's faces, waving at us from flags carried by people young and old. So many people. So much happiness.

The Uber driver began a conversation. Aimless chatter about the differences between Canada and the United States narrowed as we compared the costs of attending college in the two countries, which discussion evolved inevitably into talk about politics.

Feeling sure of the driver's political persuasion given his religion (Muslim) and nationality (Canadian), I ventured into Trump territory. In retrospect, a mistake, although my comment was relatively mild and nonspecific.

"Oh, I support Trump!" exclaimed the driver. My husband and I eyed one another. Was this sarcasm?

No. "He tells it like it is," he continued. "I love that about him." He continued on praising Trump for some time, oblivious to the uncomfortable silence of his passengers.

Now, as we closed in on our hotel, our driver gestured dismissively. "This is known as the gayborhood," he offered, his emphasis on the first syllable leaving no room for doubt as to his feelings about the neighborhood and its occupants.

I emerged from the car into misty rain, sunlight straining to break through. "Look!" pointed my fifteen-year-old. "There's a rainbow going straight down into the park where the gay pride parade was!"

And so there was. I nodded, preoccupied, thinking about the Uber driver who had so discouraged and confused me. Who, then, voted for Trump? Who supports him? If even someone Canadian, if even someone Muslim...

Against my dark thoughts the rainbow strengthened and clarified.

"If only this rainbow had appeared during the parade," my son mused. "What a statement that would have been. It would have made the news for sure."

2 comments:

MARY G said...

The bigots and Trump supporters come in all shapes and sizes. One of the neighbours on our road has a Trimp election sign on the hydro post by his laneway. I think he is terminally stupid, me.
I wonder if your driver was feeling the almost pathalogical hatred of 'gays' that some men, especially religious ones, seem to fel. Tied into hatred of strong women, only God knows why.
Sad. Toronto has some amazing taxi drivers. The next time you are in either Toronto or Montreal, factor in time to meet with me, eh?!
Happy Fourth.

Lala said...

we do have our share of small minded people here. I'm sorry you found one.