The world is crazier than most people know. But I know. I was a clinical social worker for forty years. I am a witness. I retired from social work to write about the sad, the mad, and the savage; with whom I have spent most of my life. I have decided to translate these stories into fiction, because, as a co-worker once said, "You couldn't make this sh*t up. No one would believe you."

Sunday, July 18, 2010

REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME SOMEONE CALLED YOU "MA'AM?"



I do. (Yuk! Retch! Barf!)
It was in my country store in Vermont, that I had bought to escape dearly beloved but fabulously expensive Boston. The kid was a trucker for the Pepsi supplier, so I was going to see him over and over, for a long time.
He was nineteen hoping to live to twenty one and he called me “ma’am.” I told him I would give him a big tip to never call me ma’am again and he said, “I’m sorry, ma’am. I thought at your age, you would want….”
Beats me how that sentence finished. I stopped listening immediately. I was only 45, in top condition, even at the end of a hard day when my heart and liver had sunk into my sneakers I only looked 32, maybe 30 with a hangover. How could I be a “ma’am,” or “at your age?” (Crap!!)
I should mention, the kid was cute. My female staff got all squishy whenever the Pepsi truck rolled up. He had good hair. Thick, curly, long over his ears and neck. Yum. The only trouble was, he was surly. But because I was 45 and not 25, it occurred to me that he might be up tight, rather than just surly. After all, it was a high estrogen stop, our store. All the staff were female, sometimes excessively so.


So I called to the kid and asked him to come over, I had something to ask him. He looked like someone had just shoved a double barreled shotgun up his rectum but dutifully came over; after all, I was the owner of the store.
I said to him, “Can I have your hair?”
Never mind the staff going into fits at my nerve or at the kid’s brilliant blush: he dissolved on the spot; he was mine. He tried not to but he could not help but grin; most likely he always wondered if he had good hair. Now he knew for sure. He would have laughed if he had been older but as he wasn’t he kind of snorted and shuffled. I told him he had beautiful hair.
It’s more certain than gravity that the other bitches would have died to have the attention that he now gave to me. Too bad for you, I thought nastily as I flirtedwith the youngster. He left, still grinning, and never called me “ma’am” again. He was never surly either; we seemed to be his favorite stop, and…he always asked for me. (Hah!)
Dig this: maturity has its benefits. At 25, I would have shuffled and mumbled and whispered to some other broad, “Oh is he looking at me?” but would never have had the nerve to talk to him. I would have believed his surly act. But at 45, I knew better.
Did better, too (Hah!)

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