Late last week, I was in a convenience store by work. This store is frequented by the many white collar workers of Emeryville during lunch and I was no different, buying myself a bottled frappuccino to add the tad bit of caffeine needed to help me out for the rest of the day.
I was holding the bottle while standing in line, waiting to pay. There was an older man in front of me with his food, also waiting to pay. He turned to look at me and winked.*
“How are you?” He asked me.
I gave my standard response with a smile. “I’m fine thanks. And you?”
“I’m fine,” he answered. And then he continued: “I wasn’t sure if you talked to men but you seemed like a nice person,” he said with a smile.
I laughed a bit and that was that. He paid for his food and left and I paid for mine and went back to work, telling various co-workers this little story. They all thought it was weird and no one understood why he would say that to me. “It’s because I’m a Muslim woman and he thinks I’m oppressed,” I explained.
The other day, I returned to this store to buy yet another bottled frappuccino. This time, no one was standing in front of me in line and I was able to pay for my drink right away.
As I was paying, the guy behind the counter said something to me. Something about whether I can talk to Ben. I couldn’t quite understand him and when I gave him a “What?” with a funny look he said “Never mind” and gave me back my change.
In the short walk back to work, I racked my brain trying to think of who Ben was and why the guy at the convenience store wanted me to talk to him. And then it hit me on the way up the elevator to my floor. He was asking me if I can talk to men!
He had obviously overheard the guy ask me the other day and probably didn’t hear my response.
Unbelievable. I’m done with frappuccinos.
*Yes, this was as creepy as it sounds.