An older man came to the cafe today and bought a pizza from me. He wasn’t a particularly attractive older man but he obviously found himself witty.
He paid for a $5.61 lunch with $20.61. I automatically said, “$15 is your change.”
I typed it into the register and as I grabbed his bills, he said,
“I’m proud of you.”
I ignored him.
“Don’t you want to know why I’m proud of you?” he asked.
“I believe I know.”
“You made change without using the register.”
Yeah, and I also count all the cash sales for the entire store.
“I counted $22,000 this morning,” I said.
He meant it as a compliment. But it stung. It stung because he would have never said it to a person his age or to a man.
He said it to me because I look younger than my forty-plus years. I’m cute and I’m petite. And I work retail.
And I’m a woman.
So therefore it must be surprising that I can do math.
Never mind that I can speak more than one language. Or that I have two bachelors degrees and am working on a master’s in world history. Or that I used to run a newsroom. Or that I’ve traveled to (and fallen on) four of the seven continents.