So I went to my doctor today, to get my blood sugar and A1c checked (as I'm prediabetic), after losing my 23 COVID pounds and being back down to baseline weight (121 pounds) - and after my visit, I went to sit in the lab waiting room.
I feel like I handled this pretty well (after finally learning how to), but things went like this:
Old Man on my Left: "Well, he's cutting all of the energy programs, so of course the price of gas is going up."
Middle-Aged Lady on My Right: "We need to get him out of there. He doesn't know what he's doing."
I'm just sitting there, in the middle of them.
Now, I'm thinking to myself: "Where's my phone? lol. I want to pretend to be too engrossed in it to notice or get roped into this conversation. I'm about to get my blood sugar checked and I don't want it to spike from THIS shit, today, I just don't want get involved and don't want them to involve me."
Old Man: "How much do YOU pay to fill up your car?"
Oh, shit - too late.
Me: "I think about $35?"
Old Man: "See, Biden's making the price of gas go up with cutting back oil business for that environment bullshit. That cost comes back on us, see."
Okay, well, first of all, the president, Republican or Democrat, always gets blamed for gas prices, though the president has shit to do with gas prices - gas prices, like insurance rates, go up based on that gas corporation's whim, and most environmental policies that aren't done through EOs (which have very little power) must be passed into law through Congress, and they haven't yet.
But I didn't say that.
And yet he was still looking at me to say something.
Me: "Well, higher cost of energy is true, I guess. They also go up immediately, any time there are problems in the Middle East, that's the first thing oil companies do, justified or not, it's their excuse - and you know, Afghanistan."
Old Man: "Well, he messed that all up, too, didn't he? Man is incompetent, them poor people over there in Afghanistan."
New Man comes in and sits across from me, looks left and right, then rolls his eyes with a sly smile at me.
Good - I now have an ally, in the room, if this goes too far South - literally lol
Me: "I don't know, I agree with Biden in that I don't think there was ever a good time to pull out, but we should - but it was messier than it needed to be, that's for sure. Not that I have the answer as to how it should've been done."
New Man: "Nobody does, that's the thing. We complain a lot, but nobody wants to admit what you just did - they don't have the answer, either."
Old Man: "Well, I sure as fire have more sense than that idiot."
Me: "Well, my husband is a retired Army ranger, who knows a lot more about this stuff than I do, and he says we've been there long enough, nothing's getting better, and they didn't want us there anyway until after we said we were leaving, we weren't accomplishing much, and there was no good time to pull out - but he agrees it could've been done in a less messy way."
*Crickets* - that shut them up, for sure - because I'm quite sure not a one of us sitting in that room was a former Army ranger.
You see, when in Kentucky, saying, "My husband is a retired Army ranger and he says ..." is a bit like those old EF Hutton commercials, where everyone stops talking and listens? lol.
Me (continuing): "I just think it's odd, everyone was all anti-Muslim, "fear the Muslim" and now, suddenly, those same people supposedly care about "the poor people of Afghanistan?"
"I've always cared about the people of Afghanistan, but this isn't really about the poor people of Afghanistan anyway - this is about oil rights and always has been."
"So perhaps we need to start investing in other energy sources besides oil - then there'd be less conflict in the Middle East, at least over oil - but then there's still religion to fight about, I guess lol."
New Man: (*snort* - stifles a laugh.)
Me: "But maybe that's just me, knowing what my husband went through, and losing many of his friends, I want to save our young men to fight another day. Just because my husband's indestructible doesn't mean everyone is lol."
Middle-Aged Lady: "Yep, that's just your love for your husband and others who serve talking, that's all that is. Your husband was over there?"
Me: "Yep, for just a little while, and before that Somalia, the Congo, Latin America in the 80s. Long before I met him, but I definitely listen to him about this stuff."
Old Man: "Yeah, that's a mess too, in Africa."
People with darker skin are bad and need to be monitored by the American military.
Me: "So are you all from Lexington or central Kentucky?"
Me: "I just ask because I know some people travel in from other places in Kentucky and was wondering if the leaves were changing where you are yet, we're late this year."
Middle-Aged Lady: "I've got a couple of maple trees, just now changing. I wonder if the gorge is changing, they usually change first."
Me: "See, that's what I was wondering, to go maybe this weekend to see. Or Shaker Village, my husband is from Detroit, and Michigan can do no wrong, in his eyes, but he loves Shaker Village, that's his favorite place here."
Old Man: "I haven't been there in 20 years, it's beautiful there, I'm glad you mentioned that, my wife and I should go back."
Mission accomplished - conversation change successful, Old Man less angry :)
There was almost a redirect by the old man, but I know how to deal with angry old men.
Old Man: "Speaking of the military, Colin Powell died today, did y'all hear about that?"
Me: "I know! Isn't that crazy? Talking about my husband being indestructible, I thought THAT man was indestructible. He did NOT look 84."
Old Man: "I'm 83 and knocking on wood."
Me: "Are you? Well, you might be indestructible, too. You know what it is - it's that purple mask you got on, must be lucky, I like it."
The room laughed, including the old man :)
Old Man (Laughing): "Yeah, my wife got this for me somewhere. I don't normally wear one, but they make you at the doctor. It may be lucky after all hehehe."
Me: "See? She knows. I want a purple mask, too, then! Purple is my favorite color anyway."
And then we all wished each other luck and good days when called back for labs :)
And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is how I've finally learned to deal with political conversation in Kentucky doctor's office waiting rooms, redirecting angry old men, all fired up after watching too much Fox News, who just want something to be mad about - change the subject, find something common-ground and positive to discuss - but most importantly, make sure to make it something positive about them, give them the attention they want, only make it (sincerely) positive - whew :)