Going through a drive through the other day, I was about to get my order when I noticed the tattoo on the forearm of the young person. In a lovely, scrawling script I saw “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” and as she recited my order back to confirm, she was very polite and respectful. Then she said “Have a nice day ma’am” and I started ranting in my head, “I don’t care if I’ll never see 50 again, I’m not old enough to be ma’am. I don’t WANT to be a ma’am, did you ASK me if I wanted to be one? No! I feel like I’m still in my 30’s” and on and on it went in futility. I soon started thinking of the scene from the movie “Parenthood” where Dianne Wiest’s character Helen is ranting about being a grandmother (from IMDB):
Helen: [laughs incredulously] No, no, no, no. I’m too young to be a grandmother. Grandmothers are old. They bake, and they sew, and they tell you stories about the Depression.
Helen: I was at Woodstock, for ******’s sake! I peed in a field! I hung on to The Who’s helicopter as it flew away!
George Bowman: I was at Woodstock.
Helen: [shouts] Oh yeah? I thought you looked familiar!
I’ll say it again, I’m too young to be a ma’am. You can’t prove I have gray hair, I haven’t had a joint replaced yet, I don’t have cataracts, gout or whatever else it is old people have. So what if I can now grow African violets? My mother always told me the reason I was killing them when I was younger (read “in my 20’s and 30’s”) was because you had to be a lady of a certain age to grow them. She didn’t say specifically what that age was, but it was implied “old”. I had always pictured little hunched over, hey haired grannies when she said that (no offense to the grannies I know that aren’t grey haired OR hunched over, please!) I’m not old, I’m not even middle aged for that matter because I decided a long time ago that middle aged will always be anyone who is ten years older than me. I don’t need Efferdent, Depends or Doan’s, there’s no prune juice in my house, no assistive walking devices, no hearing aid batteries because there are no hearing aids. I run, can ride a bicycle, hiked a mountain last fall and dance just because it’s fun.
Ma’am. That was almost insulting. I think I’m going to Buca where a sweet young waiter carded me recently. Oh damn, he also carded my 75-year old mother. I’d sign up for dance lessons, but thanks to Dancing with the Stars, people like Cloris Leachman and Florence Henderson, that’s not even impressive anymore. Okay, so there are days when my knees are a little stiff, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to be grateful for waking up on this side of the dirt, does it? I’m young, dang it! And if I say it loud enough and pound the table hard enough, maybe, just maybe, my fairy godmother will show up and make it so.
Oh look, was that a pig flying by….