This incident, by the way, is the reason that I am easily wounded by interactions with anonymous people. I call it:
Alison Interacts With People On Twitter
(I'm going for accuracy, rather than catchiness)
It all began one lovely spring day. April 2010. The Tea Party movement had recently begun, and while I had heard tell of protests across the nation I had not actually seen one. At this same time, the women's shelter in Flagstaff had just moved into an awesome new location and were celebrating with a grand opening barbecue. My friends (I think Nicole and Amy) and I were taking a bus to help out with said barbecue. While doing so, we passed the Flagstaff town hall and I saw my very first Tea Party Protest. I wasn't sure what it was at first, until I saw a sign that said TEA. Chuckling to myself, I tweeted:
I then proceeded to forget about the entire thing. UNTIL a man who calls himself Big Willie (for reals) tweeted me back.
Part of me was very pleased because I'd never been tweeted by a stranger before. Not a real stranger, who wasn't just trying to get me to buy prescription drugs and/or access to some porn site. Part of me didn't want to be cowed by someone who I disagreed with. I mean, this guy was crazy.
Granted, I don't agree with Tea Party Politics at the best of times, but I can usually see that the person is not crazy. They just have extremely different opinions than me. (I'm inclined to think I'm right and they're wrong, but that's kind of the point of having opinions.) However, this guy was crazy. Some of his other tweets include "the richest 2% pay for the lazy 98%. No pay, no say...that's the way!" (REALLY!) and "Oh Snap! Today is #CincoDeMayo or as they call it in Arizona, "Wednesday"" (which I don't get. Is this just a reference to the large Latino population in Arizona? Why the "Oh Snap!"?) and various references to "Stupid Libs."
I'm a bit of a stupid lib myself, but I didn't want to fight. However, he sent me a question ("Need they say more?") so answering was only polite. So I sent him the following:
Which I thought was fairly neutral. Not 100% neutral, granted, but still written in a fairly pleasant and facetious tone. But of course, being a fan of hot breakfast beverages makes me the wrong kind of person.
Firstly, this doesn't make that much sense. Wouldn't TEA signs be best directed at people who aren't members of the Tea Party? What's the point of protesting to people who agree with you? Secondly, there's always room for tea. Kool Aid is not a filling beverage.
Big Willie here is, of course, implying that I am brainwashed and about to kill myself, cult-style. I found this to be terribly offensive. I'm generally easy going about deprecating remarks, but some things that I get wildly defensive about include my smarts and ability to think critically. (I was also fairly certain that this guy considered himself a Christian, based on his vast amount of anti-Islam statements. Another thing that is certain to get me riled up is some so-called "Christian" misrepresenting my faith, especially when he or she is spreading all kinds of hate around.)
When I'm offended by some sarcastic comment, I like to take it literally and answer it as such. For example:
Heart pounding, I pressed send and proceeded to desperately try and think of any potential comebacks that this Big Willie person may send me.
Unfortunately, he never answered me back.
However, one of my high school acquaintances told me "Gratz" for "Trolling a troll." And I did receive a tweet from Good Earth, hoping that I'd feel better soon. I appreciated that quite a lot.