She Revealed Her Liberal Self To Me

In Columns

It really seems, in today’s egg-shell society, that all one must do to offend anyone, is simply go out in public.  More readily so if you happened to be a middle-aged, white male.  I am not kidding.  Even in little Wichita, I now get many looks and reactions to that very fact.  There is no other obvious reason.  I have an orb of presumption perceived in my appearance and there is not, it would appear, a whole lot I can do about it.  I am targeted white, middle-aged, male swimming in a whirlpool of political correctness with cement shoes.

The other day I was walking out in public extracting aluminum and other semi-precious metals from the environment.  A favorite hobby of mine.  I had my backpack on, my bucket and tongs and a sharp, roaming eye.  Ok, I was going around picking up cans.  I say metal extraction to remove the stigmatism often associated with gathering cans.  It is a sort of an inglorious undertaking.  Receiving pennies for hours of gathering from some undesirable places like dumpsters is not what anyone would call worthy.  However, I leave the dumpsters to the pros.  I stick to what I can see from the sidewalk.  But, I digress.  Sometimes I stray from the sidewalk to check for aluminum behind a business or side alley.  This time was no different.

So, I search behind a Family Dollar store and sure enough, there was a can so I grabbed it with my tongs and held on to it.  I was going to wait until I got out from beside the building and into the parking lot to smash it and drop it into the bucket.  I got one, maybe two steps after grabbing the can when I heard the female voice yelling, “You’re trespassing, I can call the cops.  You can’t be back here!” meaning the back of the store, I guess.  It sort of startled me how irate this lady seemed to be.

“I’m just picking up cans, ma’am.  I have no malicious intent what so ever.”  I explained.

“You can’t be anywhere back there.  You’re not allowed past this point.”  She points out a straight line on the ground direct from the edge of the front of the Family Dollar to the edge of the parking lot.  I laughed.

“Do you want me to call the cops?  Because I will.” she threatened.

“Go right ahead,” I tell her.  “In fact, I want you to call the cops.  You have no case.”

Turning red with anger she said, “What?”

“First of all, ma’am, there is no sign anywhere indicating no trespassing.  Secondly, you can’t just make up the property lines wherever you so desire.  You need a property assessor for that.  Unless posted, you cannot tell me where I can and cannot go.  As of this moment, the only place you can restrict me from going is inside your little dollar store.”  Well, she did not like that one bit.  “Do you still want to call the cops?” and with this query, she folded her arms.

“What are you some kind of lawyer?” she said without knowing really what to say.

The activist side of me emerged and I quickly answered, “No, you don’t have to be a lawyer to know the law, but I do know that to trespass someone it has to be posted and even then, the offender can only be warned and be made available to leave.” She had no response.

You know that look someone has when they realized that they really shouldn’t have messed with a particular person.  This poor Family Dollar manager had no idea who she tried to dictate that day.

With her defensive folded arms, she tried to get the last word in by saying, “Well next time come in and ask me.”

“I don’t have to ma’am.  Unless it is posted, I can be in this parking lot, I can go next to your dumpsters, behind your store, wherever.”  I reiterated.

Grabbing my bucket and tongs I started to leave when she said it.  “I hate people like you.  You probably voted for Trump.” and into the store, she went.

Now, I could have escalated the incident further, but I didn’t, for the fact that I didn’t have any recording device on me at the time.  I usually do, but this time I was without one.  During the middle of this disagreement, I was wishing I could be taping this.  I really wanted to document her sureness of my voting for Trump. Because I am white, male, and middle-aged is the sole reason why this person assumed I voted for Trump.  I know it.

Well, this is far from over.  I believe for some reason I had triggered the feminist in this woman.  Yes, she was white also, and seemingly middle-aged as well, but she was all too willing to tell me where I could go or what I could do.  And when she realized that she couldn’t, she demonized me by calling me a possible Trump voter.  She revealed her liberal self to me, which in turn I shall go forth into the future and test her capabilities of really knowing her Americaness.  Or should I say my Americanism?  I will audit this store and teach them that I can go where I please and do what I please as long as it is in public.

This is a warning to Family Dollar.  Do not tread on me.

You will see more of my teachings to Family Dollar exclusively at America Speaks Ink.

Jeff Payne
Blogger, Photographer, Activist

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