At the greengrocer’s today, one of the other checkout staff called to the young woman who was scanning my carrots, ‘Mercedes, what country do you come from?’ She called back, ‘Chile!’ My guess was that the exchange was drawing attention to her Latin American background, exotic in this context where most staff are Italian, Lebanese, or from a range of east or south-east Asian countries.
I looked over to where the question had been lobbed from, and recognised the customer. ‘The customer over there is a writer,’ I said. ‘Maybe he wants to give your name to a character in one of his stories.’
She looked interested at that possibility, but she didn’t ask the writer’s name.