Today I popped over to the OOCGP for a quick Iced Latte before the school/martial arts run and parked in the 15 minute zone so I would not be tempted to hang out, as I really didn’t have the time. Getting back to the parking lot to go back to the car with my coffee, I hear my mother’s voice in my head saying “LOOK BOTH WAYS BEFORE YOU CROSS!!” Thanks, Mom, that lesson got through. Anyway, I see a car coming and I wait for it to pass but it stops and the driver waves me across. I smile back and wave, because I can also hear my mother say, “BE POLITE!” It occurs to me, as I clack across the pavement in my summery heels, that I did not used to get waved across the street so much. No sirree, I did not. I know why I do, now. It’s because I am better-looking than I used to be.

Now, bah, I hear you say. But hear me out. It is true. As noted before in this humble and repetitive place, I lost a bunch of weight and bought a bunch of new clothes. This has not at all transformed me into a Hot Bitch because nothing short of an Extreme Makeover With Astoundingly-Extensive Plastic Surgery and The Blinding Of The Public would accomplish that. But, even with the very modest gains I have made towards General Attractiveness, I am treated in a substantially different way. People in general are nicer to you when you look Less Fat and Dress Better. I get smiled at more, talked to more, looked at more, and waved across. If I go into a nice shop or restaurant, I get better service. People assume I am wealthier, smarter, more disciplined, and therefore more worthy.

I take this all with a mine of salt and substantial detachment. I have had many times in my life when I have been treated differently. I have been on both sides of something enough now to where I see things for what they are, for the most part. It is something to note, to observe, an interesting phenomenon. After all, I am always the same me.

People judge you on all kinds of measures, and treat you accordingly. People assume I am smart because I wear glasses and speak with some confidence and vocabulary. But those same folks used to look down at me as a dumby because I didn’t have a college degree in my 20s, as I was instead running around taking pictures and rocking and working for $4.50 an hour in a hair salon and selling bootleg concert cassettes. And even after I earned my degree, sometimes that still wasn’t enough because it in was in a “soft” science from a state university, it wasn’t a professional or advanced degree, and I never worked in my major field. I’d have to cure cancer to please everyone there.

Don’t get me started on how people treat stay-at-home moms. It’s like we are all as retarded and useless as Barney.

I’ve had people assume I know nothing because I was too young. I have had people assume I know nothing because I am too old. I’ve had people treat me like a second-class citizen or worse because I am a woman. I have had people treat me with greater compassion and respect because I am a woman. People have overestimated me, and underestimated me. I have been treated like a bad person because my parents were poor and treated like a bad person because my parents were rich.

When I was little, from age four to age eight, my dad was the mayor of our rather small town in Wisconsin. Even in this miniature venue, there were perks. Everyone was so nice to me, whether it was at the grocery store or the gas station or at a school event or the post office or a restaurant. “Oh, it’s the Mayor’s Daughter!” I kid you not. I did not get it at all. I just thought I must be cute and charming or some shit, or that people were just nice. When my dad lost the next election, I got the wake-up call. Adults and kids who used to suck up to me, tell me how adorable I was, smiled and bent down to talk to me? Well, the day after the election those folks began to snub me and my mom and brother on the street, like we were invisible or had contracted village political leprosy. This was a bit like a punch to the gut, when my mom sadly confirmed what I saw and felt. How could anyone treat a little kid like that, for that, I thought. My mom did not have the answer, but she did hold my hand as we crossed the street, looking both ways.

And yes, it does occur to me that maybe people are letting me cross the road now because I am old or walk like a feeb in heels. Hee. In any case, this chicken crosses the road faster, the same as I always was, even though the driver waiting for me doesn’t know all the differents I have seemed to be.