Last night, Mister, Beatle Butt, and I ended up at a little hole in the wall Americana restaurant for dinner. I spent the majority of the dinner on edge, which is how I spend most of my time these days, because it hadn’t occurred to me until we sat down that the place had “Dixie” in the name and all I could see in the dining room were white faces. Because I am a panicked sort of person naturally and also because you never can tell when you’re in Texas, all I could think about in the back of my mind was whether or not we were currently sitting in an establishment that perhaps was owned by people or frequented by people whose vision for the world I didn’t agree with.
It’s an unfair assertion to jump to based only on the name and the racial make up of the people who are hungry at the same time as you, but this is the anxious space I live in these days for reasons I won’t fully dive into right now. My brain seeks out things to feel tense about and then rides them out past all possible plausibility. I would blame this state of mind on being the mother of a less-than-cautious toddler who gives me heart attacks on a routine basis, but lets be real, I’ve always been a Nervous Nelly. It’s how I escaped childhood with nary a broken bone, a point of pride I remind myself of when I’m mentally curled up into the fetal position murmuring to myself about the What Ifs.
So, anyways, here I am, shoving into my mouth the best pot roast I’ve had in forever with gobs of real, fresh horseradish on top while the terrible possibilities of what this restaurant stands for are running through my head at a frantic pace. The TVs that are positioned around the place are ostensibly for local advertisers (hence the “ADVERTISE HERE” print out taped to the bottom of each screen) but really all they contain are the same kinds pictures that every single person has posted on Facebook because they are either cool or funny or some amalgamation of both. Chuck Norris jokes, pictures of incredible chalk drawings, and pictures of people either doing stupid things or the after effects of said person doing stupid things kept filtering through and Beatle Butt would comment on each one. “Oh! Ponies! Doggie! Plane! Fishy!!!!!!!” Until the familiar bearded face of one Abey-Baby Lincoln popped up on the screen. She thought it was Papa (as all bearded men have now been named) and I told her it was Abraham Lincoln and that he had once been the President. It was what Mister said next that broke me out of my pot roast coma/bleeding heart panic. He told BB that one day she could be President if she wanted to be.
This isn’t just an empty platitude anymore. There’s never been a rule that women couldn’t be President, just cultural norms that have prevented any woman who tried from getting too far. The system is by no means fixed just because we do currently have an incredible woman running for President; there’s still plenty of stumbling blocks that women face when attempting any position of authority. These times are a-changing, though, and progress is continuing to march forward. There will always be places and people who hold onto relics of the past like security blankets but their influence is waning. The image of my little, tiny Beatle Butt as POTUS made my heart explode with joy and completely changed my demeanor for the rest of the meal. There is hope. Things are changing. We will get there. Just enjoy the damn pot roast already, you fool.
As an aside, on our drive home I asked Mister about his take on the name and populace of the restaurant and he laughed and told me there had been a Hispanic family at the table behind me. So, most likely, my panic was for nothing, as it usually is. This is a relief because, guys, the pot roast came with real, homemade mashed potatoes and I’m real excited to eat that again.