The Cashier

[Anne Taintor image/caption]

The staff at Trader Joe's is friendly. We've tried to figure out whether the people hired are friendly to begin with, or whether the atmosphere or corporate culture, as they say, encourages informallity, relaxedness, banter. Probably all of that. In any case on Friday late afternoon L and I went shopping there and the cashier asked us what we'd done that day. L said he'd left for work at 8 and had finished early, at 3.
I said that I hadn't gotten dressed until an hour ago but that I had worked too.

Later, on the way to the subway, I asked L: Do you think he thought I was a prostitute?

It took him a moment to get it. No, he said. I think he thought you're a housewife.

I thought: I should have explained that I had been arranging a conference.

The next day L conducted an investigation into the recent history of clothing in the laundry room. He concluded that I had left wet clothes in the washing machine for four days. Today I said to him, See, more proof that I'm not a housewife.