An odd one at the grocery store a couple of days ago.

I’ve described my gender expression a number of times here, but I should underline it for this day: I was wearing a pair of rock knickers, a button-up shirt (something Patagonia-ish), and a pair of sandals. I don’t generally wear makeup publicly, and when I do, it’s pretty much only some light eyeliner or eyeshadow, not counting the times I’ve painted my nails. Which they aren’t since I’ve moved here.

I have longish hair, basically shoulder length. I throw it all over to one side, so maybe that’s a little different. I’m clean-shaven, including my legs, but I’m also freckled, so that probably wasn’t all that noticeable.

I was at the back of a checkout line, though I only had a bit of stuff. About 80% of the conveyor was open, and I was a good shopper and put that little divider behind my stuff. A young kid came charging into line, plopping the couple of things in his arms up on the belt, his (presumably) mother and sibling coming up behind him in a cart. The mother started to take a few things out to put on the conveyor, looked at me, did a double take, and then, as she stared me down, said to her (presumed) son “let’s get in the other line.”

They went to the one next to mine. That was twice as long.

This is why I’m not terribly brave in public. It’s not being called a fag or ma’am or anything like that—things that have indeed happened here. It’s the othering like this. The stares. I don’t handle that well. Say what you want about thicker skins and sticks and/or stones, but does anyone really want an awkward moment like that when all they want to do is pick up a bit of produce, a fresh loaf of bread, and something to drink?