Whenever I'm out in public and run into someone I know, it's always the other person who recognizes me, and not the other way around. I tend to avoid eye contact in the supermarket or walking down the street. It's just easier that way. If I don't look at a stranger, the stranger can't say, "Hey, you lookin' at me?"
It's a defense mechanism, of course. If I don't open myself up to people, they can't reject me. If I ignore them first, I win.
But I don't really like to be ignored. So many times in my life I've felt invisible, unseen and unheard. I always thought my voice didn't carry very well, and that's why it irritates me to have to repeat something. And I knew that I didn't stand out in a crowd, but I never tried to overcompensate. I wasn't the class clown or the bad boy rebel. I was just who I was.
Well, it happened today, at a coffee shop. All I wanted was a cup, and to give them my dollar and a half. I was perfectly willing to pour my own coffee. There were three people behind the counter, one washing dishes and two others puttering around. I'm sure whatever they were doing was important, but I was the only person standing at the counter with money in my hand.
They let me stand there for a good five minutes, seething a little more with each tick of the clock. One of them turned around and said she'd be right with me, then walked away. Another guy walked past me, then did a double-take and asked what I wanted. You can imagine what I felt like answering, but all I did was order my coffee. I made a point of not leaving a tip, though.