I have been called a Pasty White Boy from Nebraska (my skin is so pale my friends tease me I actually look green) more often than I like and ever since I moved to the East Coast I have become, against my will, a Personal Information Servant.
I appear to live only to serve you. Not a day goes by in Jersey City or Queens or Hoboken or Manhattan or the Bronx or Union City or Newark or New Brunswick or or or… when total strangers feel comfortable enough to approach and ask me questions.
I can be walking on the street, sitting on a train or lounging in a library and I still get these questions:
What Time is It? (My watch is not always visible.)
How do I get to ___________? (I never carry a map.)
Do You Have a Quarter? (I never flash any money.)
Don’t I Know You? (I never initiate conversations with strangers.)
Do you have a cigarette/match/piece of gum/newspaper/dollar I could borrow? (The answer is always “I’m sorry, I’m out.”)
I am rarely engaged with these questions. Many times I just shake my head to tell them “no” instead of using my voice because actually speaking to them invites more conversation.
I prefer to just be left alone with my thoughts but nobody seems to care. If I ignore the questions they get really upset I am not bending to their wishes! Why am I asked these questions? Do I look authoritative?
Do I have a kind face? Is it my pasty Midwestern green skin that says friendly and non-threatening?
Do people think I’m bored and that I find pleasure in serving them? To avoid my information station I’ve tried dressing down with basic clothing. I’ve tried scowling a bit. I’ve tried not making eye contact. Nothing works! I am always approached. I am always bothered.
Nothing will make it stop!