The engine was making the odd little noise it does when it's low on oil, so I stopped at a gas station off the main drag on the way home after a good day. It was well past midnight, I was tired, aching, stiff, mildly smudged with grease and dirt, and freckled with mosquito bites. The western sky was still ablaze with the remnants of sunset, so I didn't feel like I was out too late when I clumped into the gas station in a tight-clinging scrap of a shirt, low hip-hugging jeans, and boots I hadn't bothered to bend over and tie. One of the double doors was pretty well blocked by a lovely black girl dressed in not much who scowled fiercely at me and hunched over the atm as I pulled open the other door and wandered over to the aisle with the oil. The guy behind the counter grinned at me as I clumped up, and cheerfully rang me up as we exchanged pleasantries.
On the way out the door, I dodged between a hood hunched over the atm and an a police officer coming in - they nearly managed to block the door altogether. The officer and I nodded to each other, and he returned my friendly smile and nod with a sudden one of his own breaking out. "Hey!" He greeted me in passing, and I grinned back.
As I lifted the hood on my car, I racked my brain trying to place him, then mentally shrugged and concentrated on putting the oil in the engine. When store door opened, the officer stepped out with a bag in hand, and came over to my car. I looked up, and he smiled. In the tone of someone who just found an opportunity to ask a question he'd been wondering, he said, "Do you work at both [my aviation job] and [Aviation Repair Place]?"
"No, [Aviation Repair Place] is my IA who's helping me put my Taylorcraft back together." I grinned, shaking my head.
"Oh!" He looked enlightened, and nodded. A little small talk later - him asking if my car was all right - we wished each other good night. He headed back to his patrol car, while I closed up the hood and headed home.
It happens to me when I head downtown with a friend for beer and watching the sunset, when I buy groceries, when I'm on the other side of town getting some clothes, when I'm in a group of friends getting pizza and having a good time out, in the jury pool, in line at the post office... but getting recognized at 12:30 in the morning in a gas station off the main drag? I just have to give up and laugh, and swear to never let anyone put my name on the internet, because I've got so little privacy as it is.