I was a Dairy Queen yesterday evening with Colt and Dayne to order Colt’s ice cream cake for his birthday. We always get an 8 inch cake (feeds 8-10 lol!) and we all have a slice on his birthday and put the rest in the freezer. Colt will have ice cream cake desert for the entire next week, which he looks so forward to and savours each year. Dairy Queen, if you’re not familiar, is a fast food restaurant who specializes in incredibly delicious ice cream, sundaes and other frozen treats like ice cream blended with chocolate bars, M&M’s, brownies, cheesecake etc. Everything there is delicious. My favourite is their plain vanilla soft serve ice cream dipped in a chocolate syrup that hardens instantly into a shell….mmm. So good.
We arrived around 7 pm and there was one couple ahead of us in line….nice and quiet for a hot summer evening. Ordering the cake only took a few moments as we are picking it up tomorrow so they only needed our preferences (strawberry ice cream with a cheesecake and fresh strawberry middle layer with more strawberry on the bottom. *drools*). We ordered a treat each and then settled in to wait…for some reason, they always seem under staffed at these stores and each item takes a long time to prepare so it’s always a bit of a test in patience, ordering there. We were waiting while they rang in the next people and, as the number of customers who had paid and were now awaiting their ice cream grew, we all shuffled around to make more space at the counter. Dayne poked me and leaned in.
“I think that woman over there is plotting to kill you.”
I looked in the direction he had nodded and met the eyes of a woman in her 50’s, very conservative looking and very much in keeping with the sort of people who live in that end of town. (We went to the DQ in the north end where all the gated communities are and where the doctors, successful business owners and University alumni build their enormous homes). The moment I met her eyes, she dropped hers, but the mask of contempt, of offence and judgement was well maintained.
“She must not approve of choice in ice cream.” Dayne whispered, making me laugh.
I get this sort of thing quite a bit out in public. I am professional at work and the only ink that shows is my falcon (on my left arm), my ankle piece (if I’m wearing sandals) and, occasionally, a few of the orange/red maple leaves on my shoulders if I happen to have a sleeveless top on. My jewelry is all gauged but I choose subtle designs, like hoops with metallic captive balls and my only facial piercing is a small, plain silver nose ring. When I’m off, I don’t bother with sensible cardigans and hair styles that shield even more of my style, and last night, I was all out there. I had on a black dress with red, green and yellow stripes at the hem, a black velvet choker-style necklace, and my newly brightened red and black hair half up and half down. My ears were uncovered by hair, my back piece was almost entirely exposed by the low back of the dress, and when I walked, the hem would shift to expose the bottom of one piece on my right thigh and the entirety of the left (on the outside of my leg, just above my knee). I also had on my kick-ass five-inch black Guess wedges. I felt so comfortable and so very much in tune with myself.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I do realize that when I present myself in that way, people are going to notice. Some will like the way I look and will tell me; some will like it and say nothing; some will think me a freak and wonder what could have possibly compelled me to do these things to my body; some will dislike it very much and will tell me so and, finally, some will silently seethed in judgement from across the room and loud-whisper insults to someone else, making sure I hear them without having to actually speak to me. ALL of the above reactions are just fine by me. It took me a long time to figure out that it was up to nobody but myself, how I presented to the world. I love my style and the art I wear on my skin and the opinions of a stranger in a DQ line mean very little and do not influence my taste in the least. Maybe that’s what pissed her off so much.
She stood there, several feet away, glaring daggers into my back for the entire time we were there waiting for our order. I could see veins pulsing at her temples, as if her entire face was clenched in the effort to keep her annoyance and anger to herself. I smiled every time I looked at her but it only made her dislike me more.
“Grainne, stop it.” Dayne said, trying not to smile himself.
I then went over to where Colt was sitting and we chatted for a few moments. I wanted her to know I had a kid. I actually contemplated telling her I was a lesbian and had my clit pierced (lol….no, I don’t actually have any genital piercings) just to watch her erupt but decided it would be a not-so-great lesson for Colt so, just continued to smile and wait. She barely took her eyes off me. Our order was finally called and I went up to rejoin Dayne at the counter. The angry lady was now only a person or away from me and when I looked at her again, and smiled, she shook her head, mouth set into a tight sneer, and doubled the intensity of her glare.
“Disgusting!” She muttered, eyes flicking off to the side as she spoke the word.
Colt, having picked up on the outright aggression flowing my way, put his arm around me protectively.
“Why is that lady angry with you?” He asked.
She immediately turned from us, having been called out in front of a now very long line of customers.
“I don’t think she likes the way I look, Colt. Some people are just like that in the world. All you can do is smile and remember to be yourself, no matter what people like that say.”
(I enjoyed that more than I should have)
“It’s okay mom. Sometimes people don’t like me because I’m different too.” He gave me a hug.
I’m not sure if she realized he was autistic but the look of pride shining in Dayne’s eyes would have told the story had she glanced his way.
I generally won’t pick a fight over things like this because, as I said earlier, it really doesn’t bother me when people disagree with my ink or presentation as a whole. That I had the opportunity to turn the experience into a life-lesson for my son was a great thing, but watching that smug look drop from that woman’s face was the best part. She turned to watch us walk out and I caught her eye long enough to wink at her as I passed the store on the outside through the window and then I giggled all the way home.
What a world eh? There are SO many things out there that people could spend their energy focused on that would make a positive difference in the lives of others, and yet so many people choose to focus on the insignificant things that irritate them personally and use that focus to try to bring other people down. If people would just choose to hold each other UP, being Human would mean something entirely different.
Anyway – here’s some shots of my ink for my newer readers – so you can see what caused this stranger such displeasure while she waited for her ice cream on a hot summer evening.