"Are you the one that writes for the paper?" A lady asked me as I was in line at the gas station.
"Yup." I said.
She looked me up and down as if she just ate a lemon.
"You don't look nothing at all like your picture." She rolled her eyes and sighed, as if the she was disgusted with the whole world, even including me.
"I know." I laughed. "I used a good picture of me, not one where I look like I do everyday. By the way, do you read my column? Or do you just look at my picture?"
She looked at me and said "Do you know who I am?" I swear her eyes were glowing.
"I know who you are, nice to finally meet you." I said all sugary as if she was a customer and I was a waitress, averting her glare.
She sighed again and snapped her eyes at me. Next she zeroed in on the cashier. "What the hell is taking her so long to check us out? Is she stupid?"
The young girl that was the cashier was already flustered but when she heard that she dropped change all over and tears welled in her eyes.
"What's wrong with you? Are you new or dumb?" She hollered in the middle of the gas station.
The girl said "I'm new." Her face was red and her voice shaky. I was in line before the Evil Queen so I told her she was doing a good job. She smiled weakly before going to battle the Evil Queen.
It got me to thinking how unhappy some people must be to treat others so wrongly, without even knowing them. I happen to like my picture I used for the paper. I recently updated it, so you could see my chin, or both of them. I admit, most of the time I go around looking like the sea hag from Pop Eye. Like the Sea Hag Who Just Finished Frying Bread For 4 Families. I could go on and on and make it worse but like Popeye says "I am who I am." That's me, whether you like me for my freckles or not, I don't care because my spirit is real and caring and I hope it shows through my writing.
The Mean Lady in The Gas Station threw me for a loop. I started thinking, does anyone read the column? Or do they look at my picture and analyze it? I got writer's block real bad, for a few weeks.
Then people started asking me if I quit. I even had my old boss from Rapid City call me at work and ask why I quit. Last weekend in the grocery store a man walked up to me in the produce aisle.
He shook my hand and asked how it's going. I said good, I knew who he was but didn't know him personally.
"Can you start writing again, I appreciate it."
"Thanks. I will."
I started thinking that there really are still nice people on this rez. I just let one person, who probably wasn't upset at me or the cashier but maybe upset with her hair stylist for the dye job she just got, upset my whole apple cart. And I don't need my apple cart upset.
I am who I am. Read me for who I am. Don't try to think who I am is that little picture. Because then if you see me in the post office with my hair all over, flour all over my shirt, smelling like frybread.... then your apple cart will be upset...apples everywhere. Eeeza....