Well I had to head out during my lunch hour today to pick up a present for the person I had in the office Kris Kringle. Knowing the person who I was buying for well enough, I decided on a gift voucher to his favorite book store. Its a specialty bookstore you see, dealing with Sci Fi and Fantasy pretty exclusively. There are some other sub genre’s that are available there but only because no other bookstore in their right mind would stock them.

I had a bit of a poke around before I went to the counter to purchase the gift certificate, so when I finally did approach it there was already someone being served. Though not too successfully as I heard the man behind the counter saying ” I have tried running it through four times now and its still getting declined. Do you have another card sir?”  From his voice I could tell he just wanted to stab the customer in the throat with the nearest pen or one of the handy dandy miniature Star Wars light saber keyrings on sale at the counter. Only $5.95!!!

This meant that when I was called to the other end of the counter I was being served by a rather plain looking girl who would have been in her mid 20’s. But when I say “being served” I am not entirely being accurate. Because after being called over, the girl instantly started looking at my chest. Quite intensly actually. So much so, that I started to think she might have a stigmatism of some sort, so I should just plow ahead and pretend I hadnt noticed. You know, not wanting to be rude by drawing attention to someones physical differences and all. It had been a few seconds now since being called over so I decided to make the first move towards completing a transaction.

” Hello, I was wondering if you had gift cards or certificates for sale?” The shopgirl still stared intently at my chest, however I must have gotten through to her a little because she started talking in a very low voice just barely above a whisper. ” I, like, your, tie. It, is,very, very, red.” Each word was separated by just a beat before she went on. This coupled with the intense stare which still continued, instantly had me worried. Had I inadvertently worn a colour which has sent her into some sort of fit? Instantly the female scientist in the original Andromeda Strain film sprang to mind, she had problems with red lights didn’t she? 

But she went on in that same voice. ” Your, tie, is, so, red, I, have, this, thing, for, the, colour, red, and, you, tie, is, the, reddest, thing, I, have, seen, all, day.” Alarm bells are starting to go off in my head. Yet i replied, thanking her for her compliment saying I quite liked it too. I realised then, that maybe I shouldn’t have expected to just slip in and slip back out of a bookstore devoted to Sci Fi and Fantasy fiction, without encountering some form of weirdness. Be it from the staff or a customer.  Bored, rude, obstructionist, and plain stupid I was ready for. But I really hadn’t prepared myself for this.  This, this was something else entirely.

While I had been thinking all this she quite visibly, made a great effort to turn her head away from looking at me, and told herself. ” Stop looking at the nice mans lovely red tie.” At this point she turned into a very normal shop assistant and began going through the process of charging my credit card for the gift certificate I had asked for. But she wouldn’t look at me the entire time she was writing it up in their ledger.

Once I had signed everything and she had taken down the gift certificate number I thanked her for her help, and wished her a good day. I am pretty sure she didn’t hear me. Once again she was staring at my chest. Turning her whole self towards me, and kept turning as I walked to the front of the shop. I’m fairly certain I heard her say as I was leaving, “That, is, the, reddest, red, tie.”

After that I didn’t batt an eye when the bus that turned up to take me back to the office was being driven by Santa Clause who bellowed HO HO HO every time we passed a woman wearing something revealing as we drove down George St.

Wednesdays… Just cant trust them.