Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Any woman's a lady who behaves that way

I saw this elegant, elderly, woman the other day. Beautifully flowing hair cut shoulder length, clipped back with gorgeous barrettes that matched her green eyes. I sighed. When will I grow up? When will I be a lady? With no scabs on my knees or elbows from hopping off counters because I can't reach the top shelf and bang a knee or elbow on the way down? No scrape marks on my razored shins from hastily shaved legs? No bright red cheeks from forgotten rouge not rubbed in? Eyebrow half plucked because it hurt too much? When does one "become" a lady?

Yesterday, I went to the Warrenton City Council meeting. It was long because they had to read an ordinance, complete with findings, as part of a process for LUBA. The rest of the reporters left, Jeff w/KAST having asked his questions during breaks but I wanted to ask a few questions of the city manager and a couple of the commissioners so I stuck around. The reading was already part of the packet so I got up to stretch my legs and went into the "ladies" room.

I washed my hands and fixed my hair and tossed the paper towel towards the trash can, which was lined with a black plastic bag billowing over the top, and missed by a hair. I went over to the trash can and hastily bent forward to snatch it up and "slam dunk" it but instead cracked my face on the steel can, splitting my lip open. Yeah, the plastic bag wasn't "billowing" over the top, it was right on the sharp, steel, edge.

I saw stars. Ran to the sink and blood was pooling. I pressed the toilet paper to my lip and sighed. Then started laughing until the tears ran, which of course turned my eyes black, which made me laugh all the harder. I fixed myself up as best I could and refused to look into the mirror again. Not that I am vain (although I am) nor think I am the center of attention, however at this point there are only three people in the audience. The city council would be blind not to notice that I was gone for fifteen minutes and came back with a fat lip and blackened eyes!

Okay, I am pretty sure I got the eyes under control, but the lip was puffing. I tried not to fidget with it. When the meeting was over and I talked to the city manager and the councilmen no one SEEMED to stare at my swelling lip. I honestly forgot about it as I was involved with the answers to my questions, leading to more questions and so forth. Then I got into "my" truck and took a quick peek into the mirror. WTF? What's the matter with my lip? An allergic reaction? I always have coughing and sneezing fits at council meetings but this is ridiculous! OOOH yeah! Crap! I hit my face.

I went home and stood in front of my husband. "Hi!" he casually glanced over, "Hi hon, home late?"
"Yeah" I just stare at him. He finally got the hint and looks at me. "What happened? Someone take a swing at you? Who did you interview, [so and so]?" I answer, "A garbage can."

'He hit you with a garbage can?" he asks in bemusement. No outrage, just curiosity. "You didn't tell him I was going to hit him back did you?" Okay, ONE TIME I told someone my husband was going to hit him, and it wasn't for me it was because the bully was picking on someone else AND my husband was standing nearby AND the bully was a biker wearing chains and sure wasn't taking me seriously. My husband had just come off work, was in his logging clothes and was standing with his logging buddies. I thought it was a smart threat. It obviously was because the biker quit picking on the person and bought my husband and his friends a round of drinks.

When I explained to my loving companion for life what had happened his lips twitched, eyes danced but mouth said, "I am so sorry! Man that must have hurt. I hardly noticed though, so probably no one else did." Yes, this is why I love him.

In January, 1907, the New York times ran an article with the headlines, "Any Woman's a Lady Who Behaves That Way". It went on to describe the problems that women dining alone had encountered in the nicer establishments of those times. The Waldorf said that it had always entertained "real" ladies. The Times reporter asked what criteria the Waldorf used to determine if a woman was a lady? Was it by dress, manner or accent? The management of Waldorf simply answered, "A lady, my good fellow, is a-um- a lady, hey?"

Delmonico's management said that one could tell a lady by the way she sat and the way she ordered. The manager of Knickerbocker said a lady, when she finds herself alone in a public establishment, immediately sits up and says to herself, "Hm! This is a place where I've got to behave myself!" Hehehehe! That one gets me. Like the women back then were running around crazy but suddenly pulled themselves together and "behaved" at proper moments and places only to go crazy again when the time or place afforded itself.

Sherry's said they received ladies who looked well and behaved well. Rectors said they allowed ladies but refused to define a lady. It is the Irish who came off the best. "Well, far be it from a man to discuss such a delicate matter. But when a lady comes in here, it is not for an Irishman to treat her otherwise."

Maybe I won't "become" a lady. Maybe, ladies are born and just "are." Maybe, some ladies have scabs on their knees or elbows. Maybe, some ladies are far sighted and should wear their pince-nez. Maybe, there are only ladies when there are gentlemen, and vice-versa, and that is as it should be.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


I broked my car. The idiot light came on as I drove up dump rode. I registered that fact. I filed it under, "Things to do, TODAY, get oil." And then, I closed the file drawer! Before completing the task! I didn't just slide the drawer closed, I slammed it so that it jammed. No way was that message going to come out again for at least a week, when the engine started going, "tic tic tic" and then I went, "sht, sht, sht!" and the car went hisssssssssssss hisssssssssss hissssssssssssss and it was all over. It quit. Died.

TJ's auto said, "$5400, new engine installed includes a warranty." I choked back a sob, not very effectively. We just paid the car off. No more full coverage. One less payment bogging us down. Where was I headed in such a hurry that I couldn't put in a quart of oil? Which meeting? Which interview? Who knows? Double rassinfrassin friggin crappinchippers.

My pretty little, gas efficient chevy malibu. Dead. I want a mulligan. I want that trip back up dump rode. Who invented stuuuupid cars in ways? I want a horse and buggy. Maybe just a cart and billy goat. DAMNIT. Now I am driving the farm truck that I can barely leap up into. My husband's, filled with half empty oil cans, crunchy bags of dried bait, what the heck is that green stuff behind the seat and of course I am not smoking in your precious baby. No honey, I am not making fun of your truck.

Yes dear, I am grateful I have a vehicle to drive. No, I am not annoyed that it sucks down gasoline faster than I drink a vanilla latte. It is lovely that it now costs me $8 for a round trip to a Jewell school board meeting, divine that a trip to Warrenton is a $5 adventure. I know you are sacrificing for my stupidity by bike riding to work and I love you for it. Why am I gritting my teeth? Because its the third time you have told me that this hour, dear heart, and my head hurts from where I keep banging it against the wall.

I do so very badly want a mulligan.

Anyone out there hear my scream?