Kids, I’m beginning to worry. I suspect (though I have no real proof) that, like green eyes and being able to roll your tongue, being a magnet for crazy people is genetically predetermined. Such is true of my mother (though really, she may be more attracted to crazy than crazy is attracted to her. But that’s another story.) And I think it’s true of me, too.
Because, kids, if you take a room of 100 sane people, and drop one screaming, drug-addled lunatic into the mix, I can guarantee you I will be the first person they hit up for money. Or just the first person they hit.
I don’t know what it is. It might be my perfume. Or some sort of pheromone. For whatever reason, it’s as though I have a sign on my back that reads, “Yell at me, harass me, and/or become incredibly aggressive when asking me for something.”
Which leads me to yesterday’s adventure. Even when I’m at home, I have trouble staying in one spot (seriously, I’ve gotten up a half dozen times since starting this post, and I’m only 4 paragraphs in). I like to explore parts of the city I’ve never been to, take different roads home, and see new things (though, in all fairness, this is usually because I am lost). That, however ridiculous, is how I defend my decision to visit the Ross department store on Aurora Avenue, about 15 minutes north of Seattle.
Let’s start with Ross, since it’s a fairly big chain, and even those who don’t live in Seattle will understand what I’m getting at. Ross is, without hyperbole, one of the scariest places in which you will ever shop. I say this as a woman who went of her own volition to the Goodwill in the Mission district of San Francisco. Whereas that Goodwill’s dressing room was littered with broken glass, I’ve actually found feces in the dressing room of a Ross (insert blood-curdling scream here).
Yeah, I kid you not. Poop. On the walls. And that little bench thing where you put your purse. I’ve never been back … to that particular Ross. But I still go back to the chain, as scary, crazy, and poopy as I find it. Why? Because I think that the odds of finding poop in the dressing rooms of two different Ross stores is pretty unlikely, and because I love a deal. Really, it’s a problem. Tell me something is on sale, and I will buy it. Tell me that I need to stand in line for two hours to get something at 75% off, and I will do it, even if it literally isn’t worth my time.
I blame my mother.
And so, since Ross is the bargain-hunter’s paradise, I decided to check out the one in North Seattle, given all the positive, non-poopy reviews it had on Yelp. And so I went … to Aurora Avenue.
For those of you not familiar with Aurora, it is a long and (occasionally) scary road. South of Seattle, near the airport, Aurora is characterized by prostitutes, cheap hotels, and drug dealers (and it perilously close to the home in which I spent some formative years). As one travels through the city, it is largely industrial, and north of the city it becomes dotted with strip malls, long-forgotten shopping centers, and motels full of drug dealers and prostitutes. A few stretches of Aurora are lovely (a friend of mine lives near a part of Aurora by Greenlake, and her house and entire neighborhood are heart-achingly cute)- and the views that are offered from the road as one drives through the city are among the prettiest you will find in Seattle – but these are the exception to the rule.
So, here I was, at the scariest department store on one of the scarier streets in Seattle. (Writing this, I am beginning to suspect that, like my mother, I do seek out crazy – though I maintain I simply seek out bargains.) But the thing is, most of the crazy at Ross didn’t bug me: The woman screeching when her bag caused the security alarm to go off; the mother constantly calling for her daughter, whose name was, I SHIT YOU NOT, Nausea-leen (at least, that was how it was pronounced); the crazy lady in the dressing room who wandered out into the store in just a bra. These things didn’t freak me out. What did freak me out was the drug-fiend who asked to use my phone.
He wandered up to me and started telling me some story about how his friend was supposed to pick him and his girlfriend up, but hadn’t showed. He wanted to use my phone. I politely told him (and believe me, it was exceedingly polite, because I found him scary), that he should ask the store to use their phone, as I was – and I apologized here – not comfortable with the idea of letting a stranger use mine.
“I’m sorry,” I repeated, when he started at me, twitching. “I’m just not comfortable with that.”
“COMFORTABLE WITH WHAT?” he screamed, as he stormed off. “HELPING SOMEBODY OUT?”
Wow. Way to instantly make me glad I refused, asshole. I would rather deal with all the other crazies in Ross – even the shirtless grandma – than lend you my phone. Because frankly, they’re not bugging me that much. They aren’t yelling at me (well, the shoplifter was yelling, but not at me). They’re just minding their own crazy business. They’re part of the Ross experience.
And seriously, you decide to yell at me because I don’t want to hand over my very expensive phone which has my phone number, name, and god-knows-what-other-personal-info to some really sketchy dude? Because – newsflash – you are seriously sketchy. Usually, upstanding members of society don’t get stuck on Aurora with their girlfriends because their ride is too stoned to pick them up. Usually they have phones. And if they don’t, they politely ask the manager of the store for assistance, knowing that their appearance and the state of their teeth (or lack thereof) won’t prejudice anyone against them. THEY DO NOT CORNER THE ONE GIRL WHO IS SHOPPING ALONE AND THEN YELL AT HER WHEN SHE WON’T DO AS THEY SAY.
Seriously. Dick move, Drug-fiend.
On a positive note, I got a totally cute dress for $9.99. So, yay for that.