Wednesday, September 28, 2005     « Southern Belle »


"I met a lady who wrote a book about plants, but she's not old or anything. She's actually pretty!"

The daughter of a woman I know told her class this when they were doing a unit on how a book gets made. I laughed about it for a few minutes before it suddenly occured to me that small children think I'm a lady. I'm a LADY!! And this coming only a day after a crazy woman in a clothing store acted all funny (like I was going to arrest her for being kooky or something) and said I "...looked very official." I suppose this shouldn't come as a shock because I taught art classes to kids while in university. I once asked the class how old they thought I was and the guesses ranged from 16 to 60. I was in my early twenties at the time. And one day around the same time I was sitting in class and thought to myself, "How old am I?" I couldn't remember. For a moment I thought I was a teenager before it occured to me that I was actually 23.

I like being in my thirties and have absolutely no interest in going back to the evil twenties but I do sometimes forget that I am in fact two years past thirty now and that means something more to some people then it does to me.

I have noticed lately that I've entered that bizarro world where bank tellers give me some tiny measure of almost-sort-of respect (like they actually want to help me) and older women talk to me in public bathroom line-ups like I'm just another average "lady". I'm not a scary subversive type of unknown age and origin anymore. Oh no. There are no more wary sideways glances in my direction. Now we (myself and other women) exchange gripes about the wait, and knowing glances that say, "We are the same in the suffering that is public bathroom misery." Underline, capitalize, and bold SAME.

It's moments like that when I wonder, "Whoa, when did I start fitting in?"

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