The other day I was running a simple errand, getting some milk from the grocery store up the street, and decided to stop at a coffee shop to grab a bagel on my way home. I had been doing homework all day, and was dressed in comfortable clothing for the occasion. Ordinarily I wouldn’t go out in my sweatpants, but I figured there wouldn’t be much harm for such a quick errand.
I go in to the store, and order my bagel. I paid the two dollars, and was putting my wallet away when a woman says to me “Here you go.” I look up and she tries to hand me a twoonie. At first I thought she had mistaken it for my change, so I told her it wasn’t mine. Then I realized she was OFFERING me the money! I was embarrassed, and said “No, Thanks”, even when she asked me if I was sure.
What was interesting to me about this situation was that rather than directing this small assualt on my dignity back at her, I immediately blamed myself, and my trackpants. I wonder if the same thing would have happened if I had been dressed differently. What were her thoughts when she offered me that money? How often do we judge ableness or income based on what someone choose to wear, and where did these internalized views of clothing come from?