Have I mentioned my super power? The one in which I can offend nearly anyone new - somewhat unintentionally - within ten minutes of being introduced to that person? If I am drinking, that time can be cut down to maybe three minutes.
Being a rather hermit-like girl, I forget sometimes about this particular power. I avoid new people like the LITERAL plague. Every Leap Year, something awakens in my reptilian brain and I make a new friend...to be kept - FO-EVER! Like Sartre, there is no exit from being friends with me once I have decided we are friends. I also Imprint on people in service industries....as evidenced by my recent proclamation to "Glen" that he is my new Hair Stylist. When my old stylist went on Maternity leave and never came back, I waited 2 years until I couldn't stand it and found Glen. But let's leave that little creepy tidbit aside for the moment.
This morning after I dropped Em at school I swung by Second Cup to grab my perfectly brewed coffee. Yes, these kind souls will BREW me single cups of the coffee I like. In return, I will never buy coffee anywhere else in the city. Yep, they are stuck with me. For whatever reason they seem to like me. I fit in with the humor and tone of the joint. Therefore I forget that others may be unfamiliar with my essential "Dawn-ness"
Hence, today's vignette:
I walk in and wait in line. Chris, the owner, is chatting with a middle aged woman in her early 60's. She is talking to him about "day care" for his three year old son. After several repeats of the word "Day care", I can no longer stand it and butt in to say in what I thought was a semi-friendly/joking tone:
"As an Early Childhood Professional, I would just like to say that we prefer the term "Child Care" as we have never cared for a "Day"..."
I trail off and smile.
Chris, the owner laughs. This woman does not. She stares at me.
"Are you correcting me as I get my coffee", she asks.
"Well, Yes. Yes I am. As someone getting a PhD in Early Childhood, I feel strongly that terminology defines the importance of the work we do..." I trail off again.
"It's my field too", she counters, handing Chris her Card with the Moniker of a Large well known provider of Child care in many countries.
She turns back to him - "You should get your son on the list for preschool, like Yesterday..."
Not in the least deterred I pipe up, "I put Emily on the list at the Child Care I directed when I was two weeks pregnant!"
This was said to convey empathy for the plight of searching for the right child care and camps and programs and how you simply don't KNOW about this little kitchen nook of Hell until you try to navigate it.
Here is where she thinks she is going to Get me, I later realize. She is preparing to deliver her parting Blow.
"I stayed at home with my kids when they were little until they went to school and I just loved it."
And because I didn't hear the slam until later, I responded "If I had stayed home with my daughter, it would have been a crime scene. A terrible, bloody homicide scene. Me, Her, my husband and the Cat would have all been killed. No, I speak for the Moms who would be a TERRIBLE stay at home Moms..."
Chris, the owner, is now in full guffaw. I am still smiling oblivious of the attempt on my dedication/ability/expertise as a Mom.
She shoots me a terrible parting look that clues me in that I was Supposed to be insulted instead of cheerfully detailing the ways in which I would have disassembled my family.
I stand, waiting for my coffee. I am now in internal dialog with myself and am coming to realize that this all went very, very poorly. Chris continues to laugh. I look up and say:
"And you just witnessed my superpower in action. The ability to increasingly offend any stranger in ten minutes or less..."
He smiles at me. "That was spectacular", he says.