Saturday, October 18, 2008

People Are Strange

I went shopping on Columbus Day (last Monday). I'm actually going to a Halloween party for the first time in years. I'm really looking forward to it. Halloween was always my fav holiday. I haven't been into it for a couple years, for obvious reasons.

I was out and about running errands when son called and wanted a shake from Micky D's. As I was at the window waiting for my order I watched an older woman come out of the door and look directly at me, no big deal. Then...she walked over and opened my passenger door. Caught of guard, all I could say was "Can I help you?". She was a bit flustered, apologized and closed the door She then walked to the SUV behind me and got in. The female driver, obviously her daughter, had her hand over her forehead and was shaking her head. I started roaring! I could picture my Grandmother doing the exact thing with my Mom.

Alone, that would be a chuckle moment, but there's more.

I hit Micheal's for supplies for my costume. This particular Micheal's is in a strip mall with one entrance and a fair amount of traffic. As I was waiting at the light to exit, an Indian woman (in Salwar dress with a nose piercing) with a Micheal's bag came to my passenger window. She spoke broken English and said "Burlington Center" as she pointed in the direction I would be traveling. I thought she was asking me if that was the correct direction for Burlington Center and I said "Yes, that's where it is." She then started reaching for the door handle saying "Burlington Center, I help you."


Let's think for a moment here.

Here is a woman that appears to not speak English very well, offering to help me, an American born and raised - that obviously knows where she is going, assistance in getting to Burlington Center. I wasn't sure if she was playing a good con or rather naive of American ways. After thinking about it a few days though, it was a pretty good attempt for a Grandma. I was one of many cars in line. She singled out the single woman in her 40's (I'll die before I say middle aged, I am not that old!). It's probably worked for her in the past, and maybe it did on someone else after I left. I just said "No, Thank you" and rolled up the window. I'm thankful the light was green.

Would I have given her a ride if she was honest and just asked for one? Probably not. This woman wasn't homeless, she was well kept and dressed.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but after thinking about it for several days, I'm more annoyed about it than anything else. I'm not prejudiced by any stretch of the imagination, but I do take offense at my good nature being taken advantage of. This 'incident' made me think of an episode of Oprah that had Gabriel Union on. Gabriel was raped by a 'customer' that walked into a shoe store where she was working. The one line that stuck in my mind is "As women, we're raised to be polite and you don't want anybody to feel bad…but my body, my instinct, everything in my being was saying, 'Run. Just run out of the store."

Now, I don't think that older woman was going to rape me (chuckle), but...I do think it was a calculated attempt at manipulation. I bet she speaks English a hell of a lot better than she displayed to me. I'm just glad that for once in my life, I went with my first instinct and didn't second guess myself about being offensive.

I'll never forget when I was 17 and working at a deli-sub shop one night. A man came in and asked for change for a 20 dollar bill. I gave him back 2 fives and a ten and then he handed it back to me and started talking real fast about wanting different change than I gave him. It was a con to try and talk fast enough and spit out enough numbers to confuse me into giving him back more than the $20 he gave me. To this day - 24 years later, I'm still not sure if he got me or not.

Perhaps it was the feeling of that experience that kicked in when I instantly said 'No thank you'.

It disgusts me that there are actually people out there that prey on the naivete, or general goodness of others. Grandmother types or not.

My rant aside, how wierd is it that two over 50 women tried to get in my car in one day?


Roxrocks said...

Nothing cool EVER happens to me!


That's so cute about the granny trying to hop in. Weird about the other lady though. Maybe she mistook you for a cab?

I hate to judge since I'm sure to do zanier things in my old age. A long, long time from now.

What are you dressing up as for Halloween?!

Sharfa said...

Costume is a secret. I think the person whose party I am going to reads this. I will post picks after the party though.

Suldog said...

That is an extremely odd day. Just devil's advocate here: Might the Indian woman have thought you were a taxi or something similar? Sounds unlikely, but...

Ericka said...

several years ago, i was driving my cousin's jeep and was stopped at a light when a (rather cute) guy opened the door and hopped in, chattering away as he did so. turned out, he was friends with my cousin - but we scared the gibbets out of each other first... so i relate. :-)

KFarmer said...

With past experience with the nut balls in downtown Macon, I keep my windows up and the doors locked. One actually started screaming at me and hitting my car when I wouldn't give him a dollar.

"Here I am out here standing in the rain, freezing to death and you won't even give me a dollar!!"

My thoughts~ get a damn job or wait until I drive through and I'll throw you a burger ;)

Can't wait to see the costume! I'm actually thinking of dressing up but sadly, no place to go. I scare Dave...