Yesterday was weird.
It really started off like any normal day, I was working in the shop and about to go over to the window where I needed to re-tag some ceramic shells. Outside, the background noise was that of a homeless man, yelling to passersby and shouting expletives. But, this is pretty standard in this neighborhood (which is why I refer to it as background noise). As I was walking over to the window I realized that he was in fact, "enjoying his own company" a little too much for broad daylight, at noon and in public. I saw more than I ever needed to. I would also like to note that during this time, one of the things he said to himself was "Huey Lewis and the News". Make of that what you will.
I was a little uncomfortable, to say the least. Luckily, from my usual spot at the register I couldn't see him, but that also meant that I couldn't keep an eye on him if say he started to wander towards the front door of the store. I started to imagine scenarios in my mind, what would I actually do if he walked into the store? It took me a little longer than it should have to lock the front door. Another person who had seen him called the police I guess.
I should say, that in this city you do see a lot of stuff. And you get desensitized. But this was beyond.
Later on that day, your typical hippy-ish older man, wearing a hat that looked to be made from the same fabric as his large pocket covered jacket sack came into the store alluding to know a "blonde woman" who had worked there some time ago. I said, "which blonde woman?" and he sort of waved his hand in the air in a gesture of "oh you know, who can remember such details". He came over to me and shook my hand, without missing a beat he says,
"You need to increase your aerobic activity, I can read these things, I felt your pulse, I do bodywork."
I said, "Oh, really?"
"Yes, you're so beautiful that you really need to increase your energy levels to be even more beautiful" (eye roll)
Me: "Well, alright.."
Him: "I'm actually having another vision right now, of you carrying my herbal tonics in your store".
Me: "Ha...ha... Oh yeah?"
Him: "Here look at this, this is great"
He presents me with a small bottle of topical analgesic. And before I know it he's placed three drops of this stuff onto my forearm and proceeds to massage it into my skin, like REALLY massage it. At this point, I was slightly amused by the weird bubble this man seemed to inhabit, that he felt like this was OK. But you know, you take these things with a grain of salt. I should say that he was extremely non threatening.. but then...quick as a flash he's putting this stuff on the back of my neck! And massaging it in.
The thoughts which ran through my mind were mostly, "what the fuck?!", and "what is another customer going to think if they walk in right now." and "what the fuck?!"... I shifted away slightly to signal, yes thank you that is fine.
He then asks me if I'm the buyer for the store, I say no and tell him who is, give him the email address and quick as a flash he's out the door. Really he was just a dodgy salesman employing very weird tactics selling glorified Vick's vapo-rub.
After he left, the thing I was most troubled by was my own reaction to the situation. At what point would I have said, HEY MAN GET OUTTA HERE? I like to think that there a point exists where I will not allow myself to be uncomfortable for the sake of not making the OTHER person uncomfortable. But it did signal to me that I need to be ok with being a little bit more UPPITY in such situations should they arise again (hopefully they won't).
Basically, this is me.