Didn’t Have Anxiety, Until Now

, , , , , , | Healthy | August 18, 2018

(I am working the register at my store. My coworkers are all busy elsewhere, and it is a slow part of the day, when an old man walks up and purchases a small item. Things are going normally until I hand him his change. It should be noted that I have a mild form of adult acne.)

Customer: “Do you know you have a red thing on your face?”

(He points toward a small flare up of acne on my cheek. I blink for a moment, because while part of me knows what he’s pointing at, no one has ever said anything directly to me about it before.)

Me: “What do you mean?”

Customer: “You have a red thing on your face. I know what that is. It’s caused by anxiety.”

(I have never had anxiety issues, and now that I have confirmed what he’s talking about, I speak with a deadpan tone.)

Me: “Sir, I have acne.”

(I’ve never really been self-conscious about my acne, but I don’t like the way he’s talking about it. He takes his receipt and starts heading for the door while still talking to me.)

Customer: “Yes, and that is caused by anxiety. I have seen this before.”

(My tone has gone cold, and in my head I’m wondering why my personal health is his business.)

Me: “Sir… my mother is a nurse.”

(What I’m hoping he’ll pick up on is the implication that, “if something were seriously wrong with my face, she would know,” but he doesn’t get the hint.)

Customer: “I worked fifty-five years in medical technology maintenance.”

Me: “So, you never actually practiced medicine, then.”

Customer: “I have seen this before. It’s anxiety.”

(He then starts rambling something I don’t quite follow, but he makes it sound like he’s had bugs grow out of his own acne in the past. Or seen them grow out of acne in other people. Or maybe even caused them to grow out of other people’s skin infections. The main thing I key in on is his use of the words “grow out of,” which does not give me mental images of bacteria. It genuinely sounds like he’s talking about live insects growing out of people’s faces, which is incredibly creepy.)

Me: “Are you a doctor?”

(I ask this bluntly, trying to convey with my tone and expression that if he is not a licensed medical professional, I do NOT want his opinion on my face, and he needs to stop talking.)

Customer: “I work with medical equipment. But I have seen this before. It’s anxiety. It is.”

(Thankfully, after that the customer just kind of nodded and walked out the door. To date, he’s the creepiest customer I’ve had to serve.)

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