Dia-RRhetoric of The Mouth
Why is it that as a 45 year old woman I can still transform into middle school insecurities? The other day I was in the post office when a local well-known interior designer walked in. I could just tell you her name and what happened, but that would not paint this story for you. This lady is perhaps 60 years old, but she is the reason that 60 is the new 40. She is beautiful-always well dressed and has a charismatic
personality to complement the package. When she walks in the room it is like the cool girl has just appeared. Now, I see myself as a fairly confident 45 year old woman. At this point in my life there is not too much that really intimidates me, but on Wednesday I was off my game.
The day began as “just one of those days.” You know the day. We woke up late. I had a sick child that I had to take to the doctor. I had to get taxes and bills in the mail and I did not get my hot tea or breakfast that morning. In other words-I started the day off on the proverbial wrong foot. When she glided into the post office in her coral colored coat covering her sleek pants and blouse which had the hint of coral—–her hair was perfectly coiffed and she had the glow of a well-rested 2 weeks in her Honduran condo on her lovely face. I, on the other hand, got up-threw on a pair of running pants, grabbed a spandex top, hoodie and threw my hair in a pony tail. I don’t think I matched, but I did have on lip gloss. I always wear lip gloss. I suppose I think the sheen on my lips will deflect from the bags under my eyes. The only memory on my face was a late night at the office figuring how much Uncle Sam and everyone else was getting from our latest personal injury settlement and consoling a child with a sore throat at 3 a.m.
Now when she got in line behind me we exchanged pleasantries. She was trying to get back in her groove. She and her husband had just returned from a two week vacation. I know how it is getting acclimated after being out of town. I suppose looking back it was the combination of running late, no caffeine, doctor’s appointment at 10:30, another appointment at 1:00 and not eating breakfast, but I just couldn’t just say, “hello” and be done with it. I had to say exactly what I was thinking. After she told me about her day I proceeded to comment on the stack of brown envelopes in my hand. “Well,” I said, “money comes in and it goes out in the mail to freakin’ taxes.” She just smiled probably mentally checking off her list of things she had to do. That is what I normally do in the post office line. But, you see, I couldn’t stop there and let it go. I realized that “freakin'” may have sounded sort of offensive and I wouldn’t want this poised lady 15 years my senior to think I said such a thing. So I announced, “I said freakin’ and not F***KING.” As soon as I saw her wince and look around I realized that the quality that makes me well-heard as a public speaker or on the stage was at the top of my game in the main Decatur Post Office. F**********ING echoed off the post office walls. The man standing at the counter behind us stopped and stood at attention.
I just stopped. I didn’t say another word. Thank God it was my time at the window to mail my “freakin'”mail. Before I left the line I turned to her and apologized for my lack of discretion. She graciously smiled and scoffed as she told me it would take a lot more than that to offend her. Of course I felt like an idiot for the rest of the day. I had to share this story with my sister and my friend, Kate. They both laughed and told me it probably wasn’t as bad as it seemed. I knew better. It was bad, but I could laugh at myself.
The next night the lady in the coral coat with the perfect hair and I attended a get together at a mutual friend’s. We all laughed and had a great time. I left earlier than most of the girls. As I was walking out she told me she hoped I had a “freakin'” good night. Just like middle school it wasn’t as bad as I remembered.