I was in the convenience store, just aimlessly browsing the aisles on New Year’s Eve. A gentleman walked up to me and said hello, so I smiled and returned his greeting. I went about my business but was cognizant that he was watching me—not in a threatening or ominous way. I kind of figured that he found me attractive but I wasn’t interested so I continued convenience store shopping. I ended up behind him in the checkout line but I stepped out to pick up an impulse buy and maybe also to create a little more distance between me and this guy.
I was in preemptive strike mode. The guy finally left so I wrapped up my convenience store shopping spree, checked out, and left the store. Well, wouldn’t you know it? The guy was sitting in his truck at the front of the store when I exited. He called out, and inwardly I cringed, but I knew how to handle it—acknowledge briefly but keep moving. The gentleman wished me a safe and happy new year. I wished him the same but never stopped moving. I wasn’t in a hurry, I just wasn’t interested. But what wasn’t I interested in? Even if I wasn’t trying to be picked up in a convenience store, which is admittedly an assumption on my part, I didn’t even give this man a second glance. The guy was nothing but nice to me. I returned his pleasantries with quick dismissal and no eye contact. As I reflect on this, I can’t help but think who do I think I am? A super model? A celebrity? Royalty, perhaps? And when did I become this person?
I don’t know when this transition happened. “Flirty and fun,” or some such BS, is what it said on my online dating profile. Maybe it was that experience that has me a little jaded when it comes to encounters with the male species. I feel like I have to go into translate mode. His in-person, “hi,” was the equivalent of texting, “wyd.” In my experience, “wyd,” is quickly followed by, “we should hang out.” And we all know what that’s code for. I guess I thought his greeting was quickly going to be followed by an invitation to go out. Oh the horrors! But truly, this has nothing to do with that.
I told myself it’s because I didn’t want to lead anyone on and if I wasn’t interested then why encourage him by talking to him. It made it easy to accept that I treated someone that way—so dismissively. This behavior at some point became acceptable to me. It manifests in different ways depending on the person, or environment. With people I know, the walls aren’t quite as high but they’re still there. It’s not easy to tear them down either. I’ve been building some of these walls since I was a kid. Like most people, I’m afraid to be vulnerable. However, this closed off behavior, while “normal”, if left unchecked could eventually affect my existing relationships.
But, also, because my mind works the way it does, I will say there is a chance I was right and he had less than honorable intentions. In which case, yay me! *she pats herself on the back*
Bringing it all back, I doubt that this impacted this guy’s life in any significant way. I don’t imagine he cried himself to sleep; he probably didn’t give it another thought once I walked away. Likely, I’m the only one still thinking about this brief encounter but I don’t mind. I’m glad I’m aware. I don’t want to miss another opportunity to be better – not just act like I am.
There’s hope for tomorrow, y’all!