Journal of a Living Lady #258
Nancy White Kelly
Buddy claims that I am the most positive person he has ever known. True, I am by nature up-beat, but not always. While big things like cancer don’t overwhelm me, it is the little things that take a toll on my levity.
High on my pet peeve list are store owners who leave the open sign glowing in neon when the truth is that they left the building, along with Elvis, hours ago.
Of course, nobody can know the store isn’t open until they circle the parking lot a half dozen times before finding a parking place. Then the ritual begins. For me, it starts by ejecting the CD from the music player, unlatching my seatbelt, turning off the ignition, retrieving the keys, and pushing open the hundred-pound door. My torso practically groans as I twist my legs 90 degrees to the left before plopping my feet on the pavement. Then, with all the bodily thrust I can muster, I defy gravity and obtain a 12 o’clock standing position. My ritual is not finished until I close the hefty door, lock it, and place the car keys inside the zipper pocket of my purse.
A few feet away, I pull the stubborn store door handle. The resistance of the metal handle is undeniable. The store is closed. I utter a mild, non-cheerful bevy of disgust. If I were of a different gender and perhaps a sailor, my utterance would no doubt be profoundly profane.
Being a lady, I keep my lips sealed, but my blood is boiling and my face is red. I proceed to find my keys, unlock the car door and reposition myself in the driver’s seat. All, so unnecessary. Store keepers need to remember that signs are read and generally trusted. Don’t say you are open when you are not.
And then there is one other thing. If you are younger than me, please don’t call me darling, precious, honey, sweetheart, sugar or sweetie-pie. Believe it or not, I have been called all of these names within the last month. I know young people mean well, but I find such names patronizing. I am probably as least as old as their mother or more likely their grandmother.
While I may be a member of A.A.R.P., I am not senile and I don’t like to be spoken to as if a child. In fact, if you are a child, please do not refer to me by my first name. What happened to Mrs. Kelly? I am not your sand-box playmate.
I am not anybody’s darling. My parents died years ago. My former cat’s name was Precious. Buddy is the only one who can legitimately call me Sweetheart. I put sugar on my cereal and honey on my toast. I am not your sweetie-pie anymore than I am in love with the man in the moon.
Petty things, sure. With the world in the shape it is in, perhaps I shouldn’t even be speaking of such slights. Just humor me. Make your words mean what they say and don’t say what you don’t mean. It will be one small step toward rekindling the old days of mannerly society.