I noticed him notice.
He'd glance up and check. He was looking for 'the look'. I knew instantly what he was expecting - that little smile, half sad, half pity, wholely unwelcome. He looked over at me and caught me watching. He pursed his lips, then nodded acknowledgement. We were in Walmart, I hate to admit that - I tried, I really tried, to avoid Walmart, but it's so 'just there'. Anyways, we were in Walmart when I saw him. He was shopping, I'd guess with a staff. Shopping meaning he was following behind her in her wake, she talking on the cell phone so loudly that everyone knew that she was pissed at her sister, unless he was a cross dresser who was a couple sizes larger, I'd guess the blouse she was looking at was more her taste. Don't staff know that they can be seen in public? He served as a means for her to get out and meet her needs - he was entirely disengaged with the 'outing' and throughly engaged with the regular 'outing' that he got when others noticed his, ahem, difference.
Did I do anything or say anything? Nope, not to her. Wait, you'll see.
I did pull up beside him as he stood and waited while she selected a new bra. I kid you not. Again he was glancing around, checking out to see who was noticing him, staring at him. "Come here often?" I said. He surprised me by laughing, "That's funny," he said getting it. "Do you get stared at too?" I asked a question knowing the answer. "Yeah, you too?" "Yeah." "Why do they do that," he asked. "We're different, we catch their eye." "Do you think that's it?" "Most of the time, look at that rack of clothes, there." He nodded. "OK now which do you notice? "The yellow one, it sticks out from the others." "Well, it's the same for us most of the time." "We're bright yellow, they are kind of ..." "Plain," he said and laughed. "Sometimes it's mean, sometimes it's staring, but mostly it's just noticing the yellow one, I think."
We then played a game. We guessed when people walked by who would notice and who would stare. Since we comprised a wheelchair guy and a Down Syndrome guy - 'staring' outnumbered the 'noticing' but he got the difference. Finally the staff came out of the sea of women's clothing with a bra (how wildly inappropriate is that) in her hand along with some other items. She saw the two of us together and at first glared at him, "Patrick, what have I told you about talking to ...."
She went white and looked at me hard. "You are Dave Hingsburger, right?"
She went all flustery. "I was just getting some stuff, I mean I thought since I was out, usually I don't, really I don't. Pat, tell Dave that when we go out I don't usually shop for myself, it's just that they had a sale on and I really needed some things."
Pat was smiling at the speed which she was talking at.
"Oh, God, I'm going to read about this in your blog aren't I. Oh, God."
Now Pat was laughing and so was I.
People were now staring more at her than us.
I guess red trumps yellow.
Patrick came over and asked if I'd like to meet up again when he's going out. I gave him my number and told him that I'd love to meet for tea. She was putting things in the cart, settling down a bit. But Pat wasn't done, "If she doesn't have to do any shopping, we should be able to go." She looked up, seeing she was being kidded.
"Dave Hingsburger wouldn't you just frigging know it."
"I'm going to be in your blog?"
"This week, yes."
But the cool thing is, Pat did call, we are getting together for tea next week.
At least on this outing the cups will be for him.