Wednesday, October 31, 2007


These last couple of days of training have afforded me several instances of unwanted attention, but not attention directly related to my job or the class. These little vignettes are otherwise unrelated, but I found them interesting enough to share. Or maybe I'm just not as intellectually challenged by my class as I ought to be.

Monday at lunch, I headed to the mall food court. I parked outside one of the department stores, and walked through the dreaded first floor to get to the main mall. Mondays at noon must be particularly slow days for the cosmetics/perfume department, or else I had some sort of "sucker for overpriced junk" sticker plastered to my forehead, as I was approached by several pushy salespeople as I tried to speed through. I don't own perfume (most of it gives me a headache) and balk at spending more than $5 for blush at the drug store, so their advances were not welcome. I was tempted to explain to the lady who tried to tell me that her fancy nail buffer was the latest innovation that I have a $1 version at home that works just fine--but that would just be encouraging her to keep talking. I've walked through tourist marketplaces in third world countries with less obnoxious vendors. Sheesh.

Yesterday I had a run-in with the bathroom cleaning lady. I was pumping in the handicapped stall when she came in to clean. First she had to ask, in a rather annoyed voice, what exactly I was doing. After I explained that the power cord and the noise were a breastpump, for making milk for a baby, she started muttering about having to clean the stall I was in and how she didn't want to get in trouble for not cleaning what she was supposed to. I apologized for being in the way, and tried to ask for a couple of minutes to finish up and then I would relinquish my corner of the restroom for cleaning. After another minute or two, I cut my pump session short. As I was leaving, she did apologize to me and asked about the baby. She was older, but had nursed her own. Apparently she had trouble getting people out of another restroom in the building before finding me camped in this one.

Today's attention was less aggravating than the previous two days, but somewhat more mystifying. Walking to lunch, I believe I heard my first cat call in years. It might not have been directed to me, but the UPS driver (be still my beating heart) was looking right at me and the only other person around on the sidewalks was an older lady wearing a large shapeless overcoat. Not that I'm in any real haute couture myself--jeans and a black fleece slightly-nicer-sweatshirt. At Subway where I bought lunch, the cashier, and older (50ish?) man with an Eastern European accent called me beautiful. He also told me that the theme of the day was peace and unity, and had the air of the "would-be-eccentric-if-he-had-money" about him. Strange, but at least neither of my "admirers" were giving off those freaky-predator-stalker vibes, so I can safely be amused and flattered.

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