Bad Disguises

June 6, 2013
By Brittany996 BRONZE, Germantown, Maryland
Brittany996 BRONZE, Germantown, Maryland
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Frederick was half an hour from our house. We had always only made the trip for groceries. Its name was synonymous with Costco and Super Wal-Mart in my head. But hidden behind the over-sized intersections and run down strip malls were a few streets lined with small boutiques and family owned shops. One summer day my mother, sister and I changed our planned expedition from going to Wal-Mart to going window shopping along the old fashioned town center. After a few hours of sifting through second hand clothes and admiring overpriced figurines, we walked into one little store that specialized in miscellaneous gifts and items. I hadn’t expected myself to buy anything, but for some reason I was particularly drawn towards a toy disguise. It wasn't an actual disguise, just a cheap plastic nose, attached to a fake glasses frame which came complete with furry eyebrows and a matching mustache. At three dollars it was a waste of money, yet its ridiculousness was appealing. I showed it off to my sister and tried to make her buy it for me. She and I both knew that I was lying, but she surprisingly bought it anyways.

Despite my self-consciousness, I wore the disguise as we continued down the street and into the occasional open store, genuinely impressed with my self-confidence. The friendly laughs of the passing people were reassuring. With regard to those who did not share my humor, I hoped that they thought I was strange. At least then I could be certain that their stereotyped assumptions about me weren’t completely true.

My mother still wanted to stop by Wal-Mart to pick up a few groceries. When we reached the large department store, I walked in behind my mother still wearing my fake identity. The thoughts of others will not invade my creative childishness, I told myself. I wanted to prove to myself that I didn’t care what people thought. Still, I hoped no one I knew spotted me. I went to get cottage cheese because I used to eat it with apple sauce for breakfast. It seems strange, but the combination of flavors balanced each other out. Once I let a friend try it and she told me it was disgusting. I laughed and told her, “Well, that’s your opinion.”

As I stood debating between the generic or name brand, I noticed a man to my left staring at me. Remembering my appearance, I smirked and quickly glanced at him. He was overweight and sloppily dressed. He stood with his daughter who was only a few years younger than me. They were looking at the individual yogurts that have Oreo crumbs and M&M’s on the top. Typical, I thought hypocritically.

He was still looking at me, so I turned and gave him a smile which he didn’t return.

“Why?” his condescending tone barely hiding the judgment.

“This is my real face,” I joked.

“I just want to know why.”

“Just for fun.”

Except it wasn’t fun anymore. He looked me up and down as if my terrible up-bringing was evident by the baseball tee and skinny jeans that I wore.

“Okay, whatever,” he said, retiring to his limited field of view, probably content with himself. He turned and whispered to the girl. Looking back and down at the seemingly identical dairy products, I tried to collect myself. Almost forgetting my initial objective, I quickly grabbed the small generic cottage cheese and rushed off. Perhaps I had misread him and he actually had only been curious. Maybe his natural tone was mean and condescending. Or maybe he was the jerk who thought it was his God-given right to outwardly judge people and straighten out public idiots.

I told myself that I didn’t care, but his simple question echoed in my head. Why are you even doing this? I asked myself. This is dumb. I paused in the hats and jewelry section to look in the mirror. I saw a shy, normal teenage girl who cried too easily. She looked like an idiot.

I took off the pointless disguise and found my mother. She asked me what was wrong. I didn’t reply. I shoved the toy into my sister’s purse.

“What? I don’t want this,” she said.

“Well neither do I.”

I was quiet on the ride home.

The author's comments:
I hate when people ask me "You're quiet, aren't you?" I hate even more how their assumption is more or less true.

I did not aim to make the goal of this story to be fearless in your actions or to be not judge people because I believe considering other people's opinions is necessary and judgment is unavoidable. If you take anything from this story, consider both my part and the man's role in the story. If you are ever in the man's position think about your words and their consequences before you say them aloud. If you are me, anticipate what others might think, prepare yourself for ridicule. But at the same time you are your harshest critic. If you can overcome your own criticisms, nothing can bring you down.

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