A glimpse of social stigma…you might have a chuckle at my expense…

Last week it was very cold in LA, wet, rainy…pretty awful for here.  (I recognize that if you live in the MidWest or East Coasts of North America you are rolling your eyes at me, given that I’ve turned into a wimp.)

I was wearing my wet weather rain gear, but had added a few items to deal with the extra cold snap.  Here’s the visual.  From bottom to top.  White rain boots with plaid pattern in red, blue, purple, yellow and orange.  Black windpants.  Green LLBean water-resistant shell.  Black gloves.  And the piece-de-resistance — my purple, red, black (with pompom) wool ear-flapped ski hat.  Of course, I decided THAT was the moment to go into my local CVS pharmacy and pick up a carton of logs so I could make a fire that evening.   I dumped the box of logs into the teeny pharmacy cart, and started wheeling around the store (hunched over), muttering to myself as I was passing through the rows and picking up sundries. 

I’m a very social gal, so, of course, I always smile and make little comments to passersby…and noticed….that they were…avoiding me.  It didn’t take more than a second to realize I was being avoided…the eyes looking away too quickly (I remembered the feeling from when I had been wheelchair bound for a few weeks after knee surgery.)

But it did take me a few minutes to figure out WHY (since I couldn’t see myself — but I’ll bet you’ve figured it out already and had a chuckle or two…).  As I passed my reflection in the window, I realized the other store patrons thought I was a homeless person.  I don’t know…maybe they thought I was buying chemical logs to burn in a metal trash bin to stay warm?? Deodorant to hide the smell?  Valentine’s cards for my fellow vagrants? Personally, I think it was my east coast ski hat that did the trick.

It was seriously bizarre and I felt a an equally bizarre feeling of finding it both sad and funny at the same time.  I’ve never been publicly shunned, and even though it was only for a few minutes, it has now been added to my storehouse of social stigmata.

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