#41 In Roads-Scary woman


I’m taking photos at a rustic but very cool bakery with a wood-fired oven. There are piles of crusty breads spilling across a wooden table and a line of excited customers out the door. The place smells heavenly. One of the clerks is a stocky little British woman with bright flowers in her tied up hair. The strands of colorful beads around her neck are tucked inside her apron and she chatters cheerfully with the patiently waiting hoards. She has an air of peace-loving hippie chick who’s reached senior status. She notices I’m taking her photo. She continues waiting on the family from Tibet, dumping the bowls of samples into a bag for the children and taking their parent’s money, when she looks at me and motions for me to come to her. “You’re taking my photo!” she declares in a thick accent as she looks around at customers.

I step forward. “Yes, you’re just so lovely I had to get a photo of you.” I go on to ask her name.

“It’s Gayatri, but Claire for you,” she smiles sweetly as she bats her eyes. She tells me she’s from England but has been stateside for 22 years. Then she reaches across the counter for my hand and asks why I want to know about her. I tell her it’s a long story. As I take a deep breath to answer her question, the 57 year old squeezes my hand with amazing force. Her entire demeanor changes and the little apple dumpling doll morphs into a creature straight out of Tales from the Crypt. Her face wrinkles up in anger as she lowers her voice, pulls me closer and tells me, “I answered your questions, I’d appreciate it if you answered mine.”

My smile falls and I tell her of course, I had every intention of explaining. I keep it simple with, “I do a daily blog of people I meet,” and this seems to satisfy her. Gayatri releases my hand, notices people are watching and she instantly reverts back to the charming sweetheart everyone adores. “Well alright,” she smiles as she adjusts her apron. “That’s fine then.” She returns to her customers and I left, but not before looking around the room for a parked broomstick.


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