Friday, August 02, 2002

The Ewok Syndrome

Remember Ewoks? You know, from Star Wars - the cute little creatures that laugh and sing and party and are really primitive - but then later you discover that they're really pretty good warriors? Ok. I have Ewok Syndrome. Because I'm female and short and cute people assume that I'm ... well, less than I am.

Example: Tonight I was at 31 Flavors with my son. We happened to sit next to a single dad and his son and we were talking and just enjoying ice cream. The dad told me that he had spent time in Alaska. I told him that I knew people who had spent time up there and that it's like the best kept secret in America.

Trying to sell me on the idea, he said, "Yeah, there's plenty of work up there for you. There's lots of Wal-Marts and K-marts and places like that." Ok. There's NOTHING wrong with working at Wal-Mart or K-mart, if that's what you enjoy, but I've spent many years working my way into a high-tech management position.

I replied, "Well, I'm in the aviation industry, and as far as I know, except for the military, there's not much of that up there."

It makes me wonder - is it just because I'm female that people assume that I'm incapable of having a high-tech job? Is the fact that I'm wearing a tie-dye sundress that shows my tattoos give people the impression that I'm a knuckle-dragging Neanderthol? Can you say, "Time for an image overhaul?" Something!

I always have the weirdest experiences with strangers. ... Like the time I was wearing my [very small and expensive] pentagram in a grocery store in Lansing, Michigan. This woman looked at me, grabbed her child and held him close, pointed at me, and started screaming, "Witch! Witch!"

Is it a wonder I want to live in a remote cabin in the woods?