I was leaving Melissa's apartment complex yesterday. As I came down the stairs and started walking across the parking lot to where Grond was parked, I passed by a gaggle of college-age kids standing around and packed into the car nearest the curb. There must have been about eight or nine of them, all age 20-ish, some dressed in a half-hearted goth style, tightly knotted around a car meant to carry maybe five people.
Every single one of them eyed me very suspiciously as I approached. At first I wasn't sure why; as far as I could tell I didn't know any of them (although I'm pretty sure a couple of them are Melissa's neighbors) and so far as I could tell nothing about me appeared threatening. Then as I walked close by them, I realized the cause of their concern--although I never got closer then maybe 10 feet on the way to my car, the smell of burning cannabis washed over me, as potent as I've ever smelled it.
And that's when it hit me: They're looking at me with fear and paranoia because I'm THE MAN. Ten years ago no one would have glanced in my direction in this situation, but yesterday it was clear I was perceived as nothing but an old guy who might be a narc. And you want to know the worst part? It's perfectly appropriate. I don't even know if people say "narc" anymore.