Thursday, June 2, 2005

Why Did This Annoy Me?

Flight home.  Aisle seat.  Next to an older woman (late 60s, I reckon) and her husband.  They're clearly American.  I chat pleasantly with them for a few minutes, then dive headfirst into the mystery novel I'm reading.  I drink an entire can of Coke before dinner comes, then have a cup of water with dinner, and a cup of tea after.

I gotta pee so bad my eyeballs are floating, but I can't get to the john because they haven't picked up our trays yet.  Older woman beside me comments that she needs to get to the lavatory, and why have they picked up everyone else's trays but ours.  I smile sympathetically (and slip on my shoes, so I'll be ready to run to the can at the first available moment).

The trays get picked up and I'm finally able to answer nature's call.  When I return to my seat, the woman is standing there in the aisle near my seat, and her husband is not there.  She comments -- somewhat unnecessarily, as I can put two and two together -- that she's waiting for her husband to come back so he can get back into the window seat, then we can all sit down.

Except she doesn't say it like that.  Instead, she puts her hand on my forearm and says, "I'm just waiting for my husband to come back, honey."  I involuntarily jerk away from the hand on my arm -- but try to do it in a way that isn't totally offensive.  (I don't need a confrontation with someone I will spend the next three hours sitting next to.)  She continues on with it, though -- now putting her hand on the back of my shoulder, and patting me.  I'm pretty sure she calls me "honey" again, too.

Now, I know she didn't mean to be anything other than friendly, but, my goodness, I was so ooked out by this.  Some total stranger calling me "honey" and going so far into my personal space that she's actually touching my person.  Who did she think I was, her daughter? 

Now, maybe I was a little over-sensitive to the issue.  (The mystery novel I'm reading has a subplot involving a female detective who gets no respect from her male coworkers.)  But I was really wondering if she'd do that to an unknown man.  Or an unknown woman of larger build.  Or even someone who looked older.  Don't get me wrong -- I'm totally happy with my appearance (and grateful for the fact that I still, on rare occasions, get mistaken for a college student) -- but, dang, is the fact that I'm youngish looking and fairly short license for every woman of a certain age to go maternal on me?



tammyg22 said...

Bummer, ma'am.  *g*  Btw, whatcha reading?

andreakingme said...

Us short people seem to be just the perfect height for head petting. (Next time, scowl, wear a snarl, and/or eat onions.)

jaykolb said...

Be flattered.  It means she liked you, that she thought your mother should be proud of you.  We older women who don't get to see enough of our own grown children tend to adopt likeable young men and women of about our children's ages.  Like a cat who's lost her kittens, we want to mother everything.  A college student in my dance class gave her first recital a few weeks ago, and I cried, exactly as her mother would have done had she been there.  I was SO proud of her!  (Hmmmm.  Time to visit Daughter before I start hugging waitresses again....)

rwdykt said...

Hey, the same thing happens to me and I'm a girl, young, 5'11", and pretty big.  And I send out "don't touch me" vibes and they still do it.  Maybe it's an age or generation thing--the same one that ensures my grandparents know the life story of every waitress at the buffet they go to for lunch every day.  Then again, there's a woman in her 30's that works at the health food store I visit that insists on calling me by name because she gleaned it off my debit card receipt.  I have a feeling she would put her hand on my arm if given the chance.  I hate that she knows my name, btw.  I want to buy my tofu and organic milk without gaining a new "friend".  

Maybe the crazies that walk around laughing maniacally every minute have got it right--no one touches THEM.  Hee hee.