Recently, I took my car to the dealer for an oil change. Most of you know that any work done at a dealership takes forever. I decided to walk to the nearby Subway for lunch to utilize the time and because I have a way of starving through the day, being too preoccupied for lunch. I knew that the walk would take farther than the seemingly just-across-the-street-distance from Nissan, but decided to go for it. I don’t live in a pedestrian friendly city, so crossing six lanes is more challenging that you’d think, not to mention sweltering in the 96 degree weather(107, according to my car).
Though the quickest way may have been to walk down US 41, I decided not to risk a driver texting and veering off the road just enough to send me flying. I walked through the for-sale car lot and down the back road to the crosswalk. The asphalt radiated heat around my flip flop clad feet. I could feel my face melting and tried to pick up the pace, but decided walking fast would only make me sweat more. Cars whizzing past me, I made my way to the crosswalk button and felt somewhat like a prostitute while standing on the small corner. It was a patch of bright white sidewalk in a weed and asphalt laden area. The sun was blinding me as I watched the traffic. I felt as if all eyes were on me, the lone human out of her protective bubble of steel. At the signal, I stumbled a little in my flops on the gravel, but kept moving. Making it to the Subway parking lot, I felt like an anomaly; the only walkers in this town are usually on drugs, homeless or in some other shady situation. I order and sit down alone to eat. I used to do everything alone and am not one to worry about eating by myself, but there I was out in the open. The shop seemed to be full of men on their lunch breaks; blue and white collars alike, some on their own and some with co-workers. I felt as if I were being watched.
When we enter this world, we drool, make godawful faces, fart with abandon, shovel things into our mouths as we figure out how to nourish ourselves and crap publicly. Somewhere along the lines, we get to a point where even eating politely becomes embarrassing, or slightly tripping in the street makes us feel like kids again.
I couldn’t quite look out the window because there was a poster blocking my view. I finished and reapplied my lipstick in the bathroom. (I may start sweating again as soon as I exit the building, but I’ll be wearing my lipstick, dammit. We’re not talking about camping here.) Out I went and made it to the same crosswalk. This time I really felt as though I was being watched and was suddenly acutely aware of the 6-inch sub bloating my belly, so I adjusted to walk a little taller. I made it across. Then I heard a whistle and a call of some sort. I never look or turn or pay attention to whistles, yells, “hey you’s” or anything else other than my name or a polite “excuse me.” It was, for a second, flattering and I knew that I wasn’t being looked at as some freak. At the same time, I felt really vulnerable, like they knew I was secretly a car-driver like them and not some savvy adventurer. I grabbed my purse a little tighter while envisioning a van pulling up with some creep jumping out to chloroform me…too much Dateline.
Getting back to the dealership lot, I was immediately asked if I needed any help. It was practically shocking to the gentleman that I would have left the building, on foot, while my car was being serviced. They expect me to wait for hours in their lobby or leave in the courtesy shuttle, that doesn’t actually pick you up from your delivered location at a convenient time…either way it’s looked at, they expect customers to be at their mercy. And I wasn’t.