Ma’am

Last Friday the Atlanta Braves retired number 47  in honor of Tom Glavine — one of the great pitchers of our (well, my) day.  It was a warm and typically humid August  night and I was accompanied by the Howard-Barrs. Good time in spite of a long rain delay.

All of that is just the setting for what ended up being a rather upsetting milestone in my life. I’m sitting there, innocent enough with my now lukewarm beer, somewhere behind Heyward. Someone behind me says “ma’am” and I turned around. Let me put that on its own line so you grasp the importance.

I turned around when someone said Ma’am.

Now, I don’t know. Maybe some of you are thinking “it’s nice people are respectful”, but really that’s not the issue. The fact is that I’m at an age where I just automatically respond to Ma’am. To really make matters worse, they weren’t even talking to me.

Ah, maturity. It brings out some of my more immature emotions.

9 responses to “Ma’am

  1. Yes, ma’am, mine too.

  2. The suckfest that is the settling in to being older. Yeah, I get it.

  3. It’s a catch all word for anyone who no longer comes off as being in their twenties. I was glad when people stopped calling me “Miss” and used the more respectful “Ma’am.” There’s so much to gain with maturity that I’ve never been able to figure out why anyone would want to stay forever stuck in the twenties. Getting older can be great — you cut through the nonsense.

  4. Well, okay, follow up, I still get called “Miss,” and regularly I’m sorry to say. I was called this term twice today at my library. I’m 49, so I figure people must not have been looking at me very closely. But, honestly, Julia and everyone reading this blog, the twenties kind-of suck. Most twenty somethings don’t know who they are nor where they’re going. Part of what I do is help 20 somethings move forward because these wonderful people often end up as volunteers in my library. But make no mistake — I regard them as kids. Things are better later. Look at your parents. Are there lives dissatisfying? Are they washed out and over, and horribly old? I sure wish I could meet them — they sound like incredibly interesting people! Maybe I should have more sympathy with your response to the term, but I think a lot of your thinking to your response is a response to an idiotic American cultural idea that you seem to acknowledge. I mean, you’ve lived abroad.

    So I have to say though I think you are great, but I don’t get the age thing. I think Americans are far too obsessed with age. You have lived outside of America and live by your own rules. Why the heck should you of all people given a dang about this idiotic American ideal?

  5. Julia, I was checking back to see if you had posted anything lately. Was disappointed that you hadn’t since I enjoy reading your thoughts. I think my earlier comments were too harsh. My point was that I absolutely detest the ageism that is prevalent in the States. I thought that your comment about the fact that you responded to the term “Ma’am” wasn’t about the word really, but rather that the word is a reflection of the ageism that is prevalent in the American culture. I mean, why can’t all ages (for what they are) be wonderful? Why can’t we celebrate the lessons we learn as we become older instead of thinking our best days are over while we try to remain in our twenties and thirties? What is wrong with the American culture? I truly wish that you, someone I consider an interesting thinker and gifted writer, would write about that. Oh, I’ve been learning another language, am at an intermediate level, and hope to travel with the language late next summer. I wish I could have had your opportunity to actually live in another culture. What wonderful experiences you have had! I hope that you are well and happy.

  6. Oh, I totally agree Kimbre! At least intellectually I agree. But there is a part of me that hates that I turn around when I hear Ma’am. I’m happy I have your thoughts on this though. For some reason, non of the responses to my blog go to my email anymore — so I was unaware that this great insight was out here. I’ll get back to blogging!

  7. Definitely understand, Julia. It can be something of a mix with the years going by with lessons learned, mistakes made, and a realization that there are fewer days ahead than there used to be. I think I felt more this way a few years, but as I near 50 these things don’t seem to matter so much, with the exception of my annoyance at the prevalent ageism in American society. But then I’ve been called “Ma’am” longer than you. :~) How come with men it doesn’t matter? Ever hear a man object to being called “Sir.” There is no word for young men that means “Miss.” Men can get older; women are expected to stay young forever. (I subscribe to follow-up comments so they are going to my email, meaning the blog is working technically at least to my account.)

    Love your December post and the song. Good points regarding this topic. Wishing you a warm and very happy holiday season!

  8. Kimbre, if you like female vocalists, you should listen to Erin. She is fantastic.

  9. My favorite female artist is Loreena McKinnett. I’m happy to learn about, Erin. Very nice –thanks for the introduction, Julia. I’ll be buying several of her songs. The Blackbird song could even be used with my kids.

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