I’ve gotten to know Lillian slowly, bit by bit.
She’s someone who exudes passion and thoughtfulness in her conversations and her dancing, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know her better.
And last night I should have lied to her, because telling the truth hurt.
Lillian’s pretty progressive politically, and — unlike a lot of the obnoxious poseurs in San Francisco — she actually practices what she preaches. She’s served in the Peace Corp, and today she does an enormous amount of volunteer work. I have a lot of respect for her.
Unsurprisingly, she was rooting for the more progressive candidate in San Francisco’s mayoral run-off yesterday, a contest between a moderate Democrat and a rather left-of-center Green party candidate.
Just before heading off to the dance that Lillian was also attending, I had learned that Gavin Newsom — the moderate Democrat — had won, along with the equally moderate Kamala Harris for District Attorney.
As fate would have it, Lillian asked me for a ride home that evening, and I was happy to oblige. She lives pretty close to me, and I always enjoy getting to chat with my fellow dancers a bit off the dance floor. And of course, I knew better than to discuss politics with her; I’m rather liberal by nearly any measure… except when it comes to San Francisco. In that case, especially by supporting Newsom, I’d be viewed by many as an evil Corporate Stooge.
Literally less than 60 seconds away from Lillian’s apartment, all hope was lost:
Lillian: Hmm… I wish you had a radio in this car [I actually do]. Do you know anything about the election results tonight?
Me: Yeah, Newsom and Harris won.
Lillian: [pained silence for a moment] Oh man.
Me: I was surprised, too.
Lillian: [with hopeful curiosity] Who did you vote for?
Me: [pausing for a brief moment] Newsom and Harris. I’m sorry.
Lillian: [a pained expression, and even a longer pause] Why?
I babbled an explanation for a moment, as she and I sat in my car, already at her apartment. But I felt an emotionally stabbing pain, realizing that I absolutely, positively should have lied to Lillian.
Telling her the truth only hurt her, and it hurt my chances for having her like and respect me. Now I’m one of Them. It’d be like extolling the virtues of Hamburger Hamlet to a vegan, or mention one’s participation in a satanic ritual to the local Reverend.
She said quietly “It’s just politics.” Then, to my surprise, she gave me a brief hug, said goodnight, and wished me sweet dreams.
I still tossed and turned though. I had so many opportunities to lie, but did not. Does this make me a better person, overall, or does it merely make me and others a little bit sadder?