“Hi, do you have credentials to live here?”

I looked up at him. Average-size, middle-aged, white male. Probably straight.

“Excuse me?”

Now women usually say “excuse me” not because we didn’t hear you correctly the first time. We say “excuse me” generally to give you a chance to correct what you just said so we can un-hear it and go about our day.

“Yes.” He shows me a piece of paper that means nothing to me. “Do you have the right to be here right now?”

I stared at him incredulously. I was standing in the lobby of my brand new apartment, waiting for the receptionist to come back from lunch so I could borrow a dolly to finish moving some packages.

“Don’t look offended. It’s just a question,” he pressed on.

I made no effort to show him my keys or reveal my identity. My mind hunted for a response. Should I punch him? Should I walk away? Should I engage in a conversation? Did I really have credentials to live here? Only time would answer that.

“Yes, I have credentials to live here. Now, if you will excuse me…”

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