so today i was at the center for all people who stare, i mean the mall, picking up some alterations from nordstroms when these two gorgeous african-american children (probably 6 and 4) started shrieking when they saw me. pretty typical, understandable behavior from a child, not really a big deal.
mommy, look at that tiny ladyyyyyy….mommyyyy…mommy look. that lady is tiny. what’s her name mommy, is that tiny lady a mommy?
the mom, who seemed darling and confident by the way, simply hesitated for a moment (you could almost see the wheels turning as she decided what to do) and then she came over to me and simply said,
i’d really like for my children to shake your hand and meet you. is that ok?
it was really no problem for me at all. i’d much rather have that than hear a really awkward, embarrassed explanation from the mother just trying to get her kids to shut up and pretending they never said anything. kids ask questions about everything, certainly things that are out of the ordinary. it was really not a problem.
but it got me thinking, a similar situation happened before and the vibes i was getting were totally different. what was it? was it how she phrased everything so politely? was i just a grumpy gills last time? was it because the man before took a lot more time and did not seem to even notice that my time might be worth something? i do not know.
the children politely shook my hand and i talked to them for a moment. they were not a problem at all. what was super awkward and annoying was the man who kept staring even after i walked away and turned around and we made eye contact as he continued to stare. like he saw me notice him staring 3+ times and he never averted his gaze. his mouth was dropped open and he just stood there watching me. yes, i am alive.