CHRISTIANA MILTON: OUTSIDE THE CITY

by Christiana Milton   [January 7, 2002]
[WeeklyUniverse.com]  I recently discovered I was living in a bubble called "The City."

I've had unusual experiences outside the city.  Usually, it's kids staring, parents telling them not to, people whispering.  It still amuses me when, in a smaller town, the little punk/alternative kids give me a head nod and a 'hey' or 'what's up?' ... heh, I'm cool now!

    Recently, I was at my favorite arts & craft store (which is in suburbia) and noticed that I was being watched.  I had been in there a while, filling up my cart quite well.  Sensing that I was watched, I turned around...

    I saw a middle-aged man wearing an employee shirt.  (Later, I find out he's the manager.)

    He says, "I see you've been in here a while.  Is there anything I can help you with?"

    Excuse me?

    I say, "Nope!" and walk away.

    I have been in this store countless times and probably spent hundreds of dollars (just to furnish my wedding alone!), and although I was usually with my mother, or had a more natural hair color, I'd never had a problem with anyone there.

    I'm not scary looking.  I'm 5'2", and look like I'm still in high school.  I have some piercings.  I change my hair color as often as I can without it falling out.  I love being able to express myself, however I choose.  I like being able to go to the grocery, or out to dinner, and not get stared at or ignored by employees.

    I do not pose any threat ... or do I?

    I continue shopping and try not to be offended, as I know I'm still being watched.  Does he think I'm going to shoplift?  Or start knocking down displays just for fun?  (Although that thought amuses me, I know if I start laughing it could make the situation worse).

    I eventually get everything I need, pay for it, and leave the store.

    Next time, I shop there without incident, so I chalk it up to a new manager.

    A couple of months later, I'm at this store again, and the manager's there, giving out free promos.  He tells the employee next to him that they only have a few left, so he's giving them to regular customers.

    I decide to try my luck.

    I go up to him and ask if I can have one of the freebies.  He looks at me, and smiles.  "Sure!  You shop here.  I see you all the time!"

    Heh!

    After I leave the store, I chuckle to myself.  I've only been there twice in the past four months.

    At least I'm memorable.

Copyright 2002 by Christiana Milton.

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