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Sunday, August 5, 2012


As I go through what is commonly known as 'middleage', and hurtle towards my (hopefully) retirement years, I have gained more sympathy, and understanding, towards 'the old people', I would encounter, when I was young.  Standing at the bus stop, as a teenager, either going to work, or to go shopping, I would often be pushed out of the way by a seemingly frail pensioner.  Oblivious to others, and with the anchor sentence of, 'I have fought/lived through two world wars', the indignant senior could fight off the most athletic of opponents, with sheer determination.  I recall having respect for my elders, but then that same respect decreasing as I was beaten out of the way with a cane, or umbrella.
Growing older does not earn you the right to be rude, but it gives you a very good excuse!  Perhaps the word, rude should be replaced with two; seemingly offensive.  I am quite sure I have become seemingly offensive as I have grown older, but as I said, my appreciation has grown for those old folk, as I have encountered the patronising youngster.  My husband turned 60 this week, and while this is not considered, old, old, it appears to affect younger women's eyelashes, especially when they have something to sell.  My seemingly offensive behaviour was probably in tip top form this week, as I expelled many such ladies from our office.

The landlord at our office, secured iron posts, with the words, 'No trespassing', which apparently covers a multitude of sins, for insurance purposes.  However, as the word 'no' has been abandoned from all school curricula, and substituted by the more friendly phrase, 'try again', which command appears to have no authority.  The same lack of authority applies to the note I stuck to the door the week before South by Southwest; 'No Solicitors - No public restrooms'.  In modern day talk, this obviously defers to the old adage of Robert the Bruce, 'If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!'  Therefore, to all that approach my office steps, with a clipboard and a variety of items that will make my life a lot easier, if I sign up for a lifetime subscription to ten magazines, two gyms and a 'save the Iguana' programme, my sign actually reads, 'try, try again solicitors!'  Along with the loss of the negative word, comes two additions to everyday language. The words, 'seriously', and 'literally' seem to have new meanings.  Seriously has now become a statement, and 'literally' has become anything but!  Despite the constant confidence boost, and alternate language, I still have the right to be seemingly offensive, and although I did not (fortunately) live through two world wars, am aware of the frustration the older generation must have felt. 

The young ladies that wanted me to advertise in their catalogue were not impressed with my attitude.  Their 'shorter than short' shorts and 'barely covering' covers, did nothing to persuade me that they could actually promote my business by advertising, and their giggles did not help.  It has to be said that once again, Kathy Bates came to the rescue.  Age has its compensation!  My mother's words keep coming back to me.  'You might think you know it all, but I have been around for longer than you!  Oh how true.  Experience is a marvelous tool.  The word 'no', once again was translated by the two teenyboppers, and they turned their heads towards Dana.  Almost immediately, the eyelashes extended, and fluttered out of control.  Smiles came in second, and the giggling went up an octave.  Actions can only take the advantage if there are no obstacles.  While I may have been thirty, (maybe thirty five) years their senior, they did not quite have the co-ordination skills that have to go along with the three weapons.  They did not take into consideration the need to walk towards his office.  Still standing in frontof me, I had set my speed to 'high', and sprinted from my chair to the space between my desk and Dana's, and stood, as high as any wall, in their way.  'Seriously, We need to talk to the owner for literally two seconds'  I took them at their word and said, 'Seriously, you literally want two seconds?' They didn't see it coming!  Perhaps, 'buzz, time up' was a little wicked, and the suggestion that they look at a dictionary was seemingly offensive, but I had earned it!  Dana, ever oblivious to anything that happens outside of his room, heard the door close as they left, and asked, 'Who was that?'
The next young couple comprised one of each sex.  They introduced themselves as being from the City. When I asked as to the purpose of their visit, the young man responded, 'We are looking for the owner.  You are not in trouble, or anything!'  I am ashamed to say, I gave him 'the look', and replied, 'I know!'  The young woman, undeterred to my seemingly offensive, continued to explain that she was attempting to equip my office with 'green' bins. She was very enthusiastic, yet quite condescending.  I am sure it was not intentional, but once again, I explained that he note on the door had been totally ignored.  Totally ignoring my polite observation, she continued, 'Seriously', it will literally change your life!  You will literally find it so much easier to separate your recycling items!'  My stare must have been assumed as a sign to continue, and she further explained that once they were full, I could just walk them to the large dumpster in the alley behind our building.  I did smile, before hitting out with the seemingly offensive metaphorical umbrella.  I pointed to the door and said, 'Seriously, did you not see the sign.  I am quite literally not interested!'  Looking into Dana's office, and seeing the crown of mature, silver hair, she looked at me, with a wry smile, and said, 'Are you the owner?'  I held my head to one side, and am not ashamed to say, fluttered my (own) eyelashes, and then pointed to the door.  The young man conceded defeat, and nudged his female counterpart, who had apparently not heard the bell to end the match!  As the door shut, Dana asked, 'Who was that?'

The third entry was from a middle aged man. I recognised him from previous years, as he suggests that Dana will need his help, or at least that of his organisation, in the up and coming legislative session.  He did not use the words 'Seriously', or 'literally', but did not respect my sign, nor the 'No Trespassing' sign.  If he had a tail, Dana would have quite literally sent him away with it between his legs!  I did not have to say a word.
My sign came down on Friday. Although it may seem a sign of defeat, I decided to put up something that would be coherent to the teens.  The new sign went up shortly after, and read, 'Seriously!  No Solicitors - No public restrooms', and just for good measure, 'And beware of the dog!'   I await the response!

I did think that perhaps the Englishwoman abroad should have a little more patience for the country folk that adopted her, but alas, I fear the words 'Seriously' and 'Literally' have been abused across the globe, and of course, if you can't beat them, it can sometimes be fun to 'join them', albeit in the most seemingly offensive sarcastic of ways.  I shall see how many people take my sign literally and seriously, and no doubt report in ................. another story.

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