I was picking up a few items today at my local Mis Kahvalti Dunyasi (Super Breakfast World), a store that claims to have everything you could ever want for breakfast, and was quite pleased with the selection, especially of the cheeses.
I brought my purchases to the counter, where a young woman wearing the hijab stood at the cash register. She didn't say a word to me as she was scanning my items, which I, at first, didn't think as strange. But when she bagged the items and I took them and thanked her, again there was only silence. I looked at her and saw a face of stone, with eyes refusing to meet mine. I decided to try again and wished her an "iyi gunler" (good day), which most shopkeepers will usually be the first to offer the customer on their way out. Again I received only silence.
I have to note, though I am on the receiving end of plenty of rudeness in my neighborhood because I am different (non-Muslim, non-Turkish, non-hijab or carsaf-wearing), it usually doesn't come from people working at the local shops. In fact, the pharmacists and bakers have been some of the friendliest people I've encountered in the neighborhood. So this behavior was unexpected and I was again taken aback, just as in the elevator encounter. I'm tempted to return to this store and try talking to the woman until I get some form of response. The build-up of these experiences is making me feel like I need to be some type of diversity crusader. I need to believe that things can change and that I can be apart of that change.