I came to a stunning and terrible realization the other day.
This is something I have tried to put off for as long as possible, but it had to happen eventually. I waited with bated breath for the day it would happen, and now it has.
I....... am a ma'am.
I know. I could hardly believe it, either.
But the person that informed me, oh so casually, as she called me that.....that word..... was quite confident that she was using the correct title. There was no hesitation in her tone or voice, no uncertainty on her face.
This girl, who had to be in her early twenties, looked at me and spoke to me with the very deferance one would use when speaking to.....
Dare I say it?
.........yep, you guessed it......to a ma'am.
When did I become that much of a grown up? It happened without me seeing.
Okay. So.....maybe my favorite music is twenty to thirty years old. No harm in that, right? That's good music. Real music.
So what if some of my favorite tv shows are old enough that none of the actors had cell phones?
Is it really a big deal that I not ony know what a record album is, but remember listening to them? I wouldn't think so, until my friend's thirteen year old daughter asked me what a record was.
But I still didn't see the ma'am coming.
How could I? I know, logically, that I'm an adult. But sometimes I still ask myself what I'm gonna be when I grow up.
Now I know.
I'm gonna be a ma'am, and I've just begun the journey.
Now, some may ask- 'How do you know it wasn't just politeness?'
Any other time, I might have asked myself that. But not this time, not the way it happened.
You see, it was just an innocent bump in the grocery store, a small collision that was not harmful to me, the other person, or the produce involved.
But this girl- I guess I should be calling her a young woman, since she was well over girlhood- she bumped into me, then spun around quickly, ready to blame.
There was anger on her face, irritation in her voice. She actually said, nastily, 'will you watch it?' as she spun to face me, while I was preoccupied by valiantly trying to save the lives of three fallen tomatoes. They survived, by the way.
The moment this woman's eyes settled on me, her whole demeanor changed. Her face softened. Her eyes lose thier mean little squint. Her tone turns polite.
And she says, "Oh, excuse me, ma'am."
So what had changed?
How did I turn into a ma'am in that second? What did this girl see in me that prompted her to become suddenly polite and respectful, when moments before she was ready to be mean and nasty for something she had done?
I thought of asking her, but I was afraid to know.
Was I already a ma'am before she bumped me, and she had just failed to see it before she looked at me?
Or did the transition happen, right that very second, without me knowing?
Was that the very pre-ordained second of my life that the transition from lady or simply woman, turned into ma'am?
I don't know if I'm really a ma'am or not. I don't feel like it. Perhaps it's only the perception of others that makes one become a ma'am.
But let me tell all you non-ma'ams out there something. If I have suddenly become a ma'am, the universe has played a cosmic joke on all of us.
I've often heard it said 'with age comes beauty', and 'with age comes wisdom'.
Well guess what.
I may be a ma'am, but I'm the same as I always have been.
I got jipped out of the sudden, miraculous beauty and wisdom that's supposed to come with ma'am-hood. Maybe it comes in stages, and that's later. Who knows?
But it does seem to come with the power to change mean younger girls' attitudes around, so there's that.