5pm. I had been at work for three hours. We were busy wrapping freshly embroidered towels and tying ribbons around them.
A man entered the shop - I should say strutted into the shop, because that was what he was doing. His black hair was sleek and spiked at the front. His skin was dark and he wore jeans much lower than they should have been and an extra large size sneer. He approached the counter as if he has blaring rap music in his ears and asked, “What can you give me for…Henna?”
Henna? We don’t sell henna. I looked at him skeptically. His quick thinking had not been very effective.
“Towel, bathrobe, anything,” he added, speaking more loudly than was necessary. He had “HITTING ON YOU” written on his forehead in large, friendly letters. Or, at least, that’s how I like to think of it.
“A towel or a bathrobe?” I asked calmly, looking him in the eye, something he did not have the courage to do after more than a minute.
“Bathrobe, how much is that?” he said. His hips swayed with every word he said. He was gross. Really gross.
“It depends on what size,” I replied.
“The smallest one.” I really should put an exclamation point after all of his sentences to emphasize how loudly he was speaking.
“For you?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said. In my mind, I smirked. Contradiction. This man was not using his brain in the slightest.
“219,” I said without hesitation.
Now that I had answered his question clearly and left no loopholes, the conversation had died and he did not have any more material.
“Thanks,” he said, turning around and walking out of the store.
I turned to the girl who was working on the shift with me and said, “I dealt with that well, right?”
She nodded. “I guess that course you’re taking helps.”
I don’t know how I would have dealt with him before Impact, but I know I did it right yesterday. He was trying to make me feel uncomfortable, but I held my ground, kept my cool, and gave him straight, blunt answers. I don’t know what he intended to do, what he thought he was going to achieve - excuse me, did I say thought? - but whatever it was, he didn’t get the chance.
We practiced verbal battles in Impact, and one of the most important things we learned was to just say no and not leave any questions. Just say it clearly. Simply. Almost always the attacker would walk away and mutter something like, “Whoa, that one’s crazy paranoid!” And for a moment it’s tempting to believe he’s right. Maybe you are being paranoid, maybe you are crazy. But then I thought, no, I’m not paranoid. If it was unnecessary to fight back I would not have done it. He’s just a sore loser. HE’S A SORE LOSER. There’s nothing wrong with me standing up for myself. He’s the one with a screw loose.