So, it is political! You’re a Communist!

No, Mr. Green, Communism was just a red herring.

I went to the Target earlier today with my mother. She was there for Tilex and I was there to buy a new booster seat for the car for my kidlet.

While there, I got two separate comments in different encounters—with people who I am sure did not even know each other or shop near each other while at the store—about my shirt. It was a red shirt with a yellow hammer and sickle on it. The symbol of Communism.

When my mother saw me in it, she had said merely, “I haven’t seen you wear that in a while,” and I’d replied, “It’s Labor Day; it seemed appropriate.” We laughed and were off to Target. But I got the sense that the first woman I saw was offended.

She was getting her infant son out of her backseat as we were getting out of my mother’s car, which was parked adjacent to hers, and the woman said to her son loudly enough for us to hear, “Oh, my. That’s the hammer and sickle, you’re too young to know anything about that,” which I guess is true enough; I mean, the kid is too young to know pretty much anything about anything except eating and pooping on which topics he was basically born an expert, but there was something weird about her demeanor as she said it. I think she wanted me to say something back. Despite my written rants, however, I am not the sort to get in to a conversation with strangers if I can avoid it, so I avoided it.

Later, I was picking up some Pond’s Cold Cream in the cosmetics section because I roll OLD SCHOOL (seriously, Pond’s Cold Cream, baby soap, and witch hazel are the only things I put on my face and I attribute my good skin and relatively youthful appearance to this habit), and a young woman passing with a cart said, “I like your shirt,” and clearly meant it, like she wanted to particularly express to me that she earnestly liked that I was wearing it. Which was just as strange as the other woman, although more pleasant.

I’ve had this shirt around four years and never heard a peep about it: once I even accidentally wore it to a Chinese restaurant (got a few double-takes from the waiters but mainly no attention at all). I find it very strange that people zeroed in on it today, at the Target of all places, like not really an open forum for debate, I’d think. Are we in a climate of increased sensitivity to dissent or just fuckin’ WHAT.

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