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Stranger Danger.

So there I was, sweeping the dining room when I see these two kids huddled close together at a table, so close they seemed to share the same skin, jointly watching some video on their cell phone. I see a reward-looking thing — a medal with a ribbon connected to it — on the floor at their feet, pointed to it and asked them if it belonged to them.

Their first instinct was not to look at where I was pointing, but at me, at my eyes. Just sitting there, motionless, fixed on me like two bug-eyed deer immobilized by my ocular headlights.

Perhaps they were trying to gauge my nature and intent. I don’t consider myself intimidating, either, so this caught me off guard. I honestly wondered if perhaps they didn’t speak my language. They seemed that fucking frantic and attentive. So I pointed to it again. They still didn’t move. My finger remained. Finally the boy manages to break free from his terror-trance, look below him and reach down to pick it up. Immediately I walked away, in some sense satisfied but nonetheless confused, feeling as if that whole interaction was unreasonably awkward. I resumed sweeping elsewhere as this Skinny fellow, presumably the father, came walking towards them from the drink fountain.

“Do you know him?” He asks the two children, who I did not hear respond. “You don’t ever talk to other kids you don’t know. You never talk to adults you don’t know.”

You try to be kind and end up feeling like a creepy asshole. Amazing.

It reminded me a lot of the incident with that jumpy thug-wannabe the other day. I was about to knock on the women’s restroom to see if it was unoccupied so I was clear to clean it when this moderately-attractive, tatted-up girl exits. I then go inside, quickly clean it, open the door, and go into the men’s room and give it a quick clean as well.

Upon walking out I immediately meet the wild, enraged eyes of the aforementioned aspiring thug. He quickly walks up to me with his skeletal chest puffed out, fists ready to rain down on my face, when he suddenly notices something.

My work shirt, perhaps? The roll of paper towels and spray bottle of glass cleaner in my hands, maybe?

In any case, gears within him shifted and he immediately apologized, saying he didn’t know I worked here. He said he thought his girlfriend was in there; I told him I had just been in the women’s room awhile ago and it had been empty. It became clear to me that he still thought I was emerging out of the women’s restroom despite the fact that I was actually coming out of the men’s room.

Paranoid parents. Paranoid boyfriends.

We have been divided and conquered by all the relentless fear-mongering. Thank you, media. Talk radio. Trump.

Everyone’s out to get you. To steal from, rape and kill you and your loved ones. In bathrooms, on the streets, and in fast food dining rooms in Shittowne, Ohio.

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