CHRISTIANA MILTON: OUTSIDE THE CITYby Christiana Milton [January 7, 2002]
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...
[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!
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?"
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!"
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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