Break time at work is approaching, so I go to the coffee pot by the drive-thru window to grab yet another cup of coffee, eager to hide in my car, read and write for thirty minutes. Elizabeth is working the window, and I glance at the guy sitting in his car right before walking away. He eyes me in a manner that makes me feel awkward, though this is by no means in and of itself an atypical incident.
Upon returning from break, Elizabeth tells me something I almost feel she regrets telling me shortly thereafter. It was what that guy at the window had said to her just after I departed.
“Who is that guy in the blue shirt?” He asks. “He a manager?”
“No, he’s our maintenance guy.”
“He looks sketchy.”
Sketchy? Fucking really?
There is a girl at the counter, a customer, and I turn to her and ask her if I strike her as sketchy. After a moment’s consideration, she shrugs and nods. “Kind of,” she confessed.
I then proceeded to write about the incident on a popular social network, which received some thirty likes. I have come to find likes rather ambiguous, and this instance exemplifies one of the reasons why. Do they find the story amusing? That would be the reason, optimally. Or is it that they agree with this assessment — that I’m sketchy? That? That would kind of suck.
I’m an artist. Perhaps he is a fellow artist and upon glancing at me recognized me as one of his own kind, going on to assume — correctly — that I frequently engage in the act of sketching. Maybe it was all one big misunderstanding, but I think not.
I know I seem off kilter, like I just don’t belong. That I’m weird. A freak of sorts. I’ve grown comfortable enough with that fact. Sketchy seems to imply something far more insidious or perverse, however, and it bothers me that I might give off that impression — not as much as it bothers me that it bothers me, though. After all, why should I give a flaming, airborne, rat’s left ass cheek what anyone thinks of me? It’s that damned sensitivity again. I wish I could turn it off.
You look around sometimes at the people that seem to accept you, even admire you in a way — people you consider close associates, friends, family. You think you know what they think of you, you tell yourself you know how they feel about you, perceive you, but there’s no real way to be sure that you aren’t just deluding yourself. I can’t help it: I find that terrifying.