A woman saw me getting out of my vintage Beetle today and told me, in a distinctive southern accent, that I was adorable. Or maybe it was the hat she thought was adorable, or the car, or both. (I get a lot of admiring comments for both of those accessories.) It does come as a surprise at times that I have reached the “adorable” age, though why older women with a different sense of style (such as it is) are considered adorable, I don’t know.
I smiled, of course, and thanked her, because what I else could I do? Shortly afterward, I thought of her comment when I acted considerably less than adorable. I was waiting in line for a checkout clerk, but the clerk kept looking around and seemed to be interested in everything but me, as if I were invisible, and I know I’m not. Invisible, that is. I finally said that if she weren’t going to help me, I was going to leave. She did approach me then, but there was something about her lackadaisical attitude that rubbed me the wrong way, so I said rather irritably, “Forget it. I’m going to leave anyway.” And I did.
It was the right thing to do because by that time, I didn’t want to have anything to do with her or the business that employed her, but I would have preferred leaving the irritation out of my voice and adding in a bit of the “adorableness” that the woman from the first encounter had seen.
Ah, well. Who wants to be adorable, anyway? I’d rather be known for a razor-sharp wit (which, unfortunately, I don’t have) or . . . hmm. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be known for. I certainly wouldn’t want to be known as an irritable old grump (which, unfortunately, I was for a moment today.)
On second thought, maybe it’s not so bad being thought of as an adorable old woman wearing an adorable old hat and driving an adorable old car.
Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.