Scene:....... The Big Smoke.
Time:........ Late at night.
Cast: .........Very Attractive Pharmacist, & Mine Host.
Action: Getting prescription filled 15 mins prior to closing time. Mine Host - the only customer - wanders around the shop. The place is empty, she did not say "come back later", perhaps she'll fill the prescription right away.
No sooner has Mine Host commenced idly browsing the perfume & hair dye aisle, than one of the assistants says "Sir, your prescription is right to go, whenever you are finished" (When I'm finished? Do they think lurking in their aisles & gazing idly at manicure equipment & band-aids is my preferred recreational activity?)
Whisking himself to the prescription counter (and to the pretty and oh so attractive thirtyish pharmacist) Mine Host makes a quip about how swiftly the prescription had been filled. With the ice thus broken, Mine Host continues on to reveal a snippet about his hometown that is always of intense interest to Pharmacists.
She doesn't pay much attention for a few seconds, proceeding with using the cash register etc, then the words click and she looks up, her pulse quickened & interest picqued, not quite believing what she has heard, and enquires again where Mine Host is from...?
As with many over-urbanised Australians, this lady hasn't the faintest recognition of Mine Host's province, never mind his hometown.
Nor does she care a whit about the nation that exists beyond the outer suburbs. This shows in her face. She is only interested (out of professional amazement) in the tiny fact about his locale.
Faintly grasping just how far Mine Host is from home, she enquires why he has come so far. Mine Host trots out his off-the-rack answer to this question: "To see solicitors, accountants and the like".
Her face (otherwise intelligent & exuding professional competence) showed such utter incomprehension as to why Mine Host didn't use law/accountancy firms in his hometown. (there actually aren't any)
This girl has been to university, gained professional qualifications, practised her profession for some years, has an intelligent face that says she is reasonably up to date with current affairs & the world around her, and that she has a carefully considered opinion on many of the issues of the day....
...But she hasn't the faintest clue that the services she takes for granted, and the facitilites available to her, are available only to the urban dweller, that the rest of us have to travel, sometimes for more than a day in each direction and at the cost of more than a week's wages, just to access these services.
Her face shows uncertainty & some disdain. She had thought him well adjusted & intelligent. She stares at Mine Host as if he just outed himself as one of the muttering homeless.
She stares because when one is a pretty & savvy pharmacist girl in the big city, one doesn't take their eyes off nutters who walk into one's pharmacy late at night. Just in case.
That Mine Host is of a different race was not an issue for her, only that despite exhibiting some apparent intelligence, he had come out with the obviously ridiculous statement that he had travelled perhaps thousands of kilometres to access professional services. She didn't curl up her top lip. She showed no contempt, merely pity & incomprehension.
Bigotry, no matter what form, is such a disappointing thing to be on the receiving end of - especially when the bigot is one who by dint of their education, upbringing & intelligence should know better.
And she had such kind eyes, and they reflected quite a lot of intellectual rigour, what a shame.