Today—Halloween—my parents and I went out to lunch and then Mom wanted to do a bit of shopping next door. I finished long before she did, but I had what we call an entertainment device—an old-fashioned paper notebook to work on my writing in. So I went out to the parking lot and started pacing around the car and writing.
I'd hardly put down three sentences when a man in a nearby car called out, "Are you drawing?"
"Writing," I told him.
He laughed. "I didn't know what you were doing," he said. "I thought you were drawing on the run."
"Writing on the run," I corrected. He smiled and drove off.
Fast forward ten minutes or so. Still pacing (to work off a few of the lunch calories). Still writing (by hand). A woman approached me. "What the bleep are you doing by my car?" she yelled. Yelled. I was about two parking spaces away from her car. "And what the bleep are you writing?"
My first tendency is to answer questions, and apparently that tendency holds through even with such antagonistic and crudely worded questions. "I'm just writing stories," I said. "And this is my car." I pointed to the vehicle hardly a foot behind me.
With one last glare, she huffed into her car and sped off.
What the heck? Now, it was Halloween. And I was in costume. But was I a scary devil or psycho butcher or vampire? No. I was Cinderella (pre fairy godmother). Not so intimidating.
Has our society degenerated to a point where it's suspicious to write on paper? Do people walking through the parking lot texting on their phones get questioned twice in the space of fifteen minutes? Do people swear at them? Maybe what I should have said was, "I'm writing. I don't know if you know what writing is, but it's like texting on paper."
What is to become of us?