Thursday, November 30, 2006

It's the calm before the storm, and I'm enjoying it wholeheartedly.

This weekend it's my step dad's milestone birthday. I'm not saying which one, as he might not want it broadcast. Not that he cares, but it's just not my choice to make. He doesn't like fusses made over him, so we're not allowed to refer to it as his birthday party, and have been instructed to bring no gifts. We'll see how many people stick to that one. Anyway, my sister and her fiance Dale are coming, as is my nephew Alec. It will be my first time meeting Dale and watching the family dynamic. It's always been just Joan and Alec, now it's Joan, Dale and Alec. From what I've heard about him and from talking to him on the phone, he seems like a really solid guy. Something both my sister and Alec need in their lives. I look forward to getting to know him.

My stepsister and stepbrother are coming, with their respective significant others. I've met Jen, who is great. But not Chase's beau. Luckily, we all get along and I'm sure many laughs are to be had.

There's been more mojo percolating in the job search. I got a call from the temp agency to work, but haven't heard back from them on my return call. My contact in LA has already put me in touch with one of her industry contacts. And, I'm starting to get emails from the creative temp agencies I'm registered with about other ones. I politely declined the interview for the software company, something which Felix chastised me about. He's a big computer guru and didn't see why I'd turn down the interview. Well, one because I'd have to fly across the country for it, and second because it was solely focusing on a hard drive product that I'm sure is exciting to someone like Felix, but just didn't have the things I require for a career and cross the country move.

They've been filming another movie in my neighborhood. This one is called Boy of Pigs, and I have a picture of it in my Flickr. Not much to see, just typical production. They've been at it again this week and I drove by tonight on my way to Starbucks and saw one of my Wire coworkers. Rolled down the window, said hello. Last night they were doing exterior shots and had the old cars lining the streets again since it's set in the 60's. And yes, that's Boy of Pigs, not Bay of Pigs.

It's been unseasonably warm here, and that's made the fact that it's practically dark at 4:45 PM easier to take. Just barely. I hate the lack of light in the winter. Makes me tired, uninspired and a little lazy. Oh, and I did take that nap that I mentioned on my last post. Crashed on my couch, then woke up and didn't know if it was today or the next day. Luckily, it was just a couple hours later. I got a late start today and it's so irritating.

Being restless last night, I went to Rite Aid with just my wallet in my pocket. I looked like hell, but decided to go with it and do a little psychological experiment. Hair a mess, no make-up, just lovely. My dress wasn't bad, but it consisted of a red overcoat, jeans with tears on the bottom and a very hip top that was covered. Now, to those in the know I'd look like any woman dressing down. To Baltimorons, I was possibly a shoplifter, heroin addict, and not respectable. Why, because there are so many people in Baltimore who fit into that category. There are two Rite Aid stores located near my apartment. I went to the one that is near the light rail station and gets lots of transient traffic. As I walked around, disheveled and to myself, I noticed that people kept their distance. I was playing an inside joke on the patrons and workers, and was enjoying my acceptance into the transient category. Trust me, I can look like shit with the best of them, especially when my hair is in dire need of a conditioning treatment.

Sure enough, when I got to the checkout, I wasn't greeted. Now, I've frequented this Rite Aid a lot, but no one ever recognizes me. I am always however, greeted. As I approached the counter with my basket of goodies, I was given a disapproving look by a tall man who was in his sixties. I said hello, and my salutations weren't returned. He scanned my groceries, if you want to call them that, as it was mostly junk food, in his eyes junkie food. He kept a surly look on his face and told me my total. I pulled my wallet out of my pocket, opened it and as if on cue, change fell out and clinked across the floor. Beautiful. I'd forgotten to zip the change purse. I scanned my credit card, then picked up my change from the floor. He asked for my identification, and I pulled it out and gave it to him to compare. Ever since Rite Aid implemented asking for ID, I've never, ever been asked. He held up my credit card, which had my picture on it and compared it to my California driver's license, the state license of choice for scammers. He scrutinized them, as my debit card had a picture of me with short dark hair, and my California license was glamorous with long hair. In front of him stood a lighter haired disheveled mess buying a bunch of junk food and a pack of toilet paper at almost eleven at night. And, I wasn't carrying a purse. Just a wallet I could have just lifted and bee lined to Rite Aid before the real owner knew it was missing.

And that's when I threw him for a loop.

As he was trying to be intimidating and disapproving, I said, "Thank you for checking."

It was the first time he made eye contact with me, and I met his eyes with the confidence of one who has been educated, worked professionally and lived a life far from the streets. Someone who could stand toe to toe with the likes of him. As he tried to put the pieces together, I said, "No one ever asks."

He stumbled over his words, "You're welcome." He gave me back both of my cards and I put them into my wallet. Not willing to give up the ghost, he kept up his demeanor, though at a lesser degree, so it wouldn't be obvious. I smiled as he looked at me again, signed my receipt and left.

Social experiment aside, I was glad that he asked. It's nice to know someone is out there protecting me. Even if it's from myself.

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