Monday, 5 April 2010

I frighten old ladies, me.

    Yeah, it's true, my very appearance terrorises senior citizens.
    I took advantage of a bit of nice weather today to exchange my morning workout for a long walk through the river meadows. Lots of mud and puddles, windblown ducks and noisy scrapping coots. I ended up in town and since I had a while to kill I took a wander through the shops. I found myself in my town's largest bookstore.
    Which brings me to the subject of this post. The shop in question has a warren of  rooms over several floors connected by several staircases. Coming down one of these staircases I was surprised when an old lady about to come upstairs abruptly stopped and backed away. I was sorry to see real apprehension in her face. I smiled and thanked her for granting me passage and received a smile in return, but I was troubled by her initial reaction.
     This morning I was my unremarkable slightly scruffy male persona, jeans, Gore-tex, rather geeky t-shirt. There was plenty of space on the staircase and I wasn't moving very fast. That shop may be a bit snooty at times, but it's probably the most civilised bookshop in the world. In other words, this was no dark alley and I was no knife-wielding thug.
    Sadly I can only conclude that she was put off by my size. I hate it when that happens.

3 comments:

  1. She was probably afraid that you'd seen through her disguise. You never know with people, especially in book shops, where they are usually either mad, bad, dangerous to know, or a combination of all these things. All except for thee and me of course.

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  2. Lisa in Raleigh5 April 2010 at 19:23

    As another person of taller size, I know exactly what you mean. There is no worse feeling that knowing that your shear size is intimidating and this is clearly a mostly male mode thing. One year for Halloween I was 6'10" tall Alice, holding an empty bottle labeled "drink me" - needless to say this effect brought smiles and laughter.

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  3. @Dru: I hadn't seen it that way, but thinking about it there must have been an unmarked Transit out in the street full of agents screaming "Abort the mission! Agent compromised!" into their radios. That bookshop is characterised for me not by the weird, though it has its share, but by the more-highbrow-than-thou. Always pick up the "For Dummies" version of whatever field you're browsing and hold it ostentatiously to guarantee yourself some shelf browsing space.

    @Lisa: I like the Alice image. If I did it I might scar for life :)
    The automatic intimidation of height has saved me from bother from time to time, there's nothing like the instant-sobering effect on the drunken chav when I stand up. But I kinda wish it didn't strike old ladies as collateral damage.

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