Thursday, December 02, 2010

Monster

Today after work I wanted a snack.  Now a year on spironolactone, I have become accustomed to the sudden salt cravings that take me at strange times.  It is nothing that a bag of barbecued pork rinds and a V-8 can't settle in a few moments.  With that in mind I took a detour on my drive home and stopped at a gas station in my quiet little town.

It is a typical country store with a modern cookie cutter twist.  Tobacco advertisements line the walls behind counter,  along with assorted odds and ends for sale.   Encased in glass on the counter a row of rottiserie chicken and other greasy edibles bask in the glow of a heat lamp.  On the shelves the selection is much like any other fuel stop in the United States and the building is a very typical gas station type structure; the kind that even if you tore out the pumps and left it standing derelict for a century, you would still be able to tell it was originally a gas station.  This one generally has a very down home feel even though I have never known exactly why.  Maybe it is just that it is never quite completely clean and there is a well worn feel to the place.  Maybe it is that the staff is almost always incredibly nice.

Today there was a bit of a line and I didn't know the clerk.  I was feeling ill at ease and wished things would hurry along. It had been a long day that ended with hanging a very heavy projector mount in a drop ceiling.  My makeup was worn out, my hair was frazzled and the red crew neck I wore over a long sleeved green thermal showed traces of the dust I had hastily brushed away before entering.

While I was standing there waiting my turn to check out I noticed the guy behind me was incredibly close.  If he had been any closer I could have probably felt his breath down my neck.  I suppressed a giggle.  Obviously he had no idea who I was.  Most men would never violate my personal space in this town for fear of me, or if not that then fear of being seen that close to me.

Maybe I wasn't looking terrible after all I thought to myself.  Still I was aware of the dust, the tousled hair, and the fact that I had ceased shaving yesterday in preparation for more electrolysis on Saturday.  The insecurity mounted.  Then I looked outside through the window and a reflection caught my eye.   Suddenly my insecurities seemed well founded.  Behind me and the guy standing so close was a short lady a bit older than me.  She was leaning out of the line and craning her head in my general direction.  I knew immediately she was looking at me.  In hind sight I am not so sure, but at the moment I was sure she was trying to get a glimpse of the infamous local tranny.

At the counter the clerk took his time checking out the two people ahead of me.  "Have a good evening ma'am."  "Have a good evening sir."  He was tall and lean.  Probably fifteen years older than me, with a slow drawl and a friendly manner.  I stepped to the counter and his manner completely changed.  Without a word he scanned my items.  Beside me the man who had been immediately behind me had suddenly seen fit to give me lots more space once he had seen me in profile.   I had laid  a five on the counter and the clerk didn't bother to mention a price.  Instead he quietly slipped the five off of the counter and never met my eyes until he handed me my change.

For that second that he was looking at me I decided I wanted to at least try to come across as friendly and non-threatening so I smiled.  For the effort I got a hesitant thank you.  I told him to have a good evening and headed for the door.  As I touched the door the awkward silence broke.  "Haven't seen you in a while!"  the clerk said to the man in line behind me.

I walked to the car quietly contemplating the nature of my local infamy.

7 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Shandy,

You are a beautiful young lady and you handled that just the way you should have which is with dignity and a smile.

You cannot control what others think but you can control how nice you are to everyone and a smile works. People will eventually come around and those that do not are just lost themselves.

You look so wonderful and I am just so happy for you.

Liz

Caroline said...

You really do have to feel sorry for the poor souls. What sad empty lives they have.

Live your life and shame them with your politeness and make them jealous with your beauty.

Caroline xxx

Anonymous said...

Oh Shannon! Don't sweat it, you're always going to have "those" as long as you stay there. Come up here and spend a weekend with friends. You'll feel better.

Syl

Jenny said...

That smile was exactly the right thing to break the barrier. Let's hope the thank you will be less hesitant and the silence less awkward next time.

Amy K. said...

It's too bad that they don't know you for the sweetie that you are. Their loss, but unfortunately it makes you feel uncomfortable as well. You handled it beautifully. As long as you keep your head up and realize that who people may think you are is nothing like who you are in reality, you'll be just fine.

Kate said...

I salute your bravery, my friend. Hold your head high, and remember that no one else in that store could ever hope to muster the kind of courage that you display every single day of the week.

Funny how cowardly beings work so hard to deflect their weakness onto those who intimidate them.

Peace,
Kate

ms.shandy said...

Things are actually really good most of the time in my town. There are things like this occasionally and I thought I would write it up to give a balanced picture. I still feel safe and mostly comfortable here. Many people have been very nice.

@Liz, Caaroline, Jenny - I agree strongly that it is best just to be polite and carry on. You can't force someone to like you, so all you can do is treat them with the respect you wish they would give you. Two wrongs just do not make a right.

@Sylvia The weekend has definitely left me in good spirits. It was great getting to hang out!

@Kate It is strange how that works. It's one of the sadder aspects of human nature I guess. :P