They Don’t like Strangers in this Here Town

13 10 2008

At the moment I’m staying in a small town somewhere in Australia. It’s a tiny little town with a population of about 5,000 odd people at my estimate.  Of course this could be less due to the closing of the town’s golfing resort which up until recently was the town’s biggest employer.

Like all small towns some people are super friendly and say “Hi” and wave all the time … and I mean all the time. I don’t know their names though.

But there are some other people that don’t seem to like strangers in their town.

These people stare at me.

A lot.

And no, I wasn’t wearing my fantastic one stocking outfit those times.

Maybe there is an aura of weirdness about me that screams “She is weird; watch her carefully!”

The other day I drove to the local real estate agent to inform them that I was moving out.

As I drove into my parking spot there was a lady standing on the verandah outside the Real Estate Office.  

As I drove into her view our eyes met.

I looked away … this is especially useful as I was parking the car at the time and had to concentrate on not wrecking another of my father’s possessions.

The lady was average height, heavy set with hair pulled back and a stern expression. She looked like she had just been fired from her career as a professional wrestler and she was unhappy about it. I’m short, chubby and I couldn’t even take Kermit the Frog in a fight at my current fitness level.

Once the car was stationary and the handbrake locked on, I looked up again and she was still looking at me … had she been looking at me the whole time?

I got out and locked the car. I looked around and she and I are the only people in this little shopping centre.  If this was America the tumbleweed would be blowing somewhere.

Don’t look … don’t look … oh bugger I looked up … she’s still looking straight at me … this has gone on too long … this now qualifies as a stare!

I re-opened the car and pretended to be looking for something I’d forgotten; while I thought of how to handle this situation … I mean am I just imagining this in a tirade of painkiller induced paranoia?

But there is nobody else here. Unless she is admiring my car she can only be looking at me.

I drive a Silver Kia Rio … yeah no way it was the car… she was staring at me for some reason.

Shivers ran down my spine …

I locked the car again. I looked up … nope she’s still staring

She didn’t even have the decency to look away … she just stared boldly … I felt like Clint Eastwood in a western film, just before the shoot-out.

Luckily I was armed; I checked my trusty mobile phone was in its holster at my hip …

So I could call for an ambulance later …

You have to be prepared in these situations …

I turned my back to her and walked towards the stairs at the other end of the verandah.

I felt a mixture of fear and indignation … what was this lady’s problem? Was I wearing too much blue today? Did she have tar and feathers stashed behind her back, so she could teach me a lesson?

I walked up the stairs of the verandah …

Oh gosh … I realised, I’m going to have to walk past her to get to the real estate …

A quick thought … maybe I didn’t have to tell them that I was moving out … yeah maybe I could just keep paying rent forever …  I couldn’t afford that, must continue on.

I tried to diffuse the situation …

“Hello” I attempted in my best impersonation of Shirley Temple since I was eight years old, my voice all sugar and spice yet laced with fear I couldn’t hide.

“Hi” the lady replied confused.

Why is SHE confused?  Was she expecting more? Stern words perhaps?

I was too scared to demand why she’s staring at me … while in range of her inordinately large fist at any rate…

I walked past praying that I wouldn’t have to use my ambulance insurance in the next half hour.

She continued to stare … If we were at a tennis match, clearly I was the tennis ball as her head whips around and her stare followed me as I walked past her.

Luckily she didn’t follow me into the real estate office, but that was a totally uncomfortable situation for me.

After conducting my business, I left the real estate office.

She was still there. I walked past her again head held high and tried not to notice her.

Once she was behind me, I noticed her make a bee-line for the real estate office … I’m guessing an interrogation of the young girl behind the desk followed.

I breathed a sigh of relief.

I’ve decided to carry a potato gun everywhere I go … to launch pre-emptive strikes!

Or I guess I could just start waving and smiling to people more.