Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"But Ya Gotta Have Friends ..."

Work and Taxes! I know it’s supposed to be Death and Taxes but I’m still kicking and I intend to keep it that way. Besides – only the good die young and as a customer at the store told me – “You’re a cheeky girl”.

I met her yesterday. She’s a tiny lady and she was trying to reach a blouse that was hanging very high up. I’m 5’9” and I have to stretch to reach up there. Note to genius merchandise setters – petite means small. I saw her out of the corner of my eye but I was alone in the department and the register was busy. I tried to get some customer assistance but apparently everyone in the adjoining department had been rendered temporarily deaf.

Finally the checkout line cleared and I was about to go over to petites when she rounded the corner with a huge smile on her face and blouse in hand. “Terribly thoughtful of you to leave that ladder there” she had the most wonderful Scottish accent. I love accents – well technically I suppose we all have an accent but I just can’t count Jerseyese as an accent. And my Motherland Brooklyn accent is only useful when you want someone to be scared of you.

“You climbed the ladder!” the look on my face must have been priceless because she told me to “calm down, no one saw me, that was why I had to climb it”. I apologized for the lack of customer assistance. She cut me off by saying that she saw how long the line was and she heard me on the paging system. “You sound very good on the airwaves” she laughed, “very professional and commanding”. I thanked her and told her I thought I always sounded angry since the only time I needed to page someone was when I couldn’t leave the register. “Ahhh trapped by the masses yearning for their clearance items” and she laughed again. She even laughed in a melodic accent.

As we were chatting one of the undead from another department schlepped over. “Ya need somethun?” “I do, I do” I told her, trying to get her to actually look up, “I can’t leave the register and there’s an elderly lady over in petites, maybe she’s in seasonal by now and she looks confused and disoriented and there’s all the ladders and hardware everywhere from the reset and well – if anything happens to her they’re going to ask why I didn’t page and I’m going to have to tell them I did”. “It’s been almost a half hour since I paged, god I hope she’s all right!”

There was almost a flicker of interest on undead’s face as she rushed off to save the day, or at least her ass.

“That was mean” lovely Scottish lady tells me. I try to look properly ashamed but the sight of undead girl scurrying around is just too delicious. “I know I shouldn’t but …” Scottish lady cuts me off, “Oh no, sending a fool on a fool’s mission is always a good idea, keeps them out of trouble”. “It’s mean to refer to me as elderly”. Again – me and my face that can not arrange itself in time. “Oh you look like you’re going to weep!” “I’m kidding, clearly I’m elderly, I’m ancient – I’ll be 92 next month”. “92!” I just had to laugh out loud. “and here I am feeling old!” “Oh you’re just a girl” she smiles and touches my hand, “a cheeky girl”.

Lovely Scottish Lady and I chatted for quite a while. Undead girl came back looking crushed that she couldn’t find anyone to help. I pointed out to her that there were several people throwing clearance shoes around but she didn’t get it. She was supposed to be looking for an endangered elderly woman and that was her only focus. I decided to be kind and send her back to her corner.

Lovely Scottish Lady’s daughter came to collect Mom. I was introduced as her “sweet new friend”. We all talked a bit about her visit here and about Scotland. She gave me her address in Scotland and told me to visit. Her daughter laughed and thanked me for bursting the myth that everyone “over here” was unfriendly. “I never said Americans were unfriendly” Lovely Scottish Lady admonishes her daughter, “that was your Father’s opinion and I’ve told you many times, your Father could be an ass!”

And then they were off.

Later one of the “customer un-assistance managers” came by and asked if we had ever found the “lost old woman”. I told her we had not and that I assumed she had just left after being ignored for so long. She seemed pleased to lose a customer. “I would have come sooner but I was helping some woman with a ridiculous Irish accent in shoes” she rolls her eyes. “She was looking for sandals for her 92 year old Mother, sandals at 92, how stupid!”

So I made a friend where others saw inconvenience and heard ridiculous accents from the wrong country.

The only time my Nana would ever get genuinely angry with me was when she felt I was “ignoring your gift, feeling silly about being special, you can talk to anyone and you have a giant well of kindness in your heart. “You’re a good old soul, don’t make me angry by losing that, I’ll come back and haunt you”.

Stay put Nana. It’s all good.

I wasn’t going to take the time to tell this story, at least not now. I am overwhelmed with projects and I’ve upped my giant-ass store hours so basically all I do is work. And I’m freaking out about my tax bill that I can’t pay because clients owe me money for 90+ days.

But – as Bette sings – “but you gotta have friends”.

And I do. Right here in Blogger City.

Bobbie gave me this wonderful award:

Thank You Bobbie for your kind words. And most of all thank you for reminding me that there is always time to stop for a friend.

I have so many people I want to pass this on to that I’m going to do that later. I must answer my voice-mail and I must finish my PFC.

One last funny – I absent-mindedly picked up the phone last night while I was working on my PFC. Never do that! Caller ID is your friend. It was a client who just started going on and on and on. “You sound distracted” she finally comes up for air. “I am, I’m working on my PFC”. I couldn’t believe the words came out! “Is that the PFC for HQ?”

“Why YES! – yes it is”.

So take a moment to enjoy the image of this bitchy, whiny client wondering what my PFC is going to say about her when it gets to HQ!


Jay said...

I love accents too.

And spunky little old ladies. My grandmother turns 90 this year and she's still pretty spunky too.

And sending fools on fools errands! That's hilarious. ;-)

Raven said...

I love you. You always make me laugh and your nana had you pegged perfectly. Your new 92-year-old friend sounds wonderful. I'm behind on my PFC and a bit stuck. I don't know how you do a blog and work two jobs. You are awesome.

Law Student Hot Mama said...

Aww - it's too bad that I know when I'm 92 I'm going to be crusty and mean as a one-eyed snake! If I make it that far, I intend to grow my icky grey hair down past my butt and ride a Harley in celebration. Congrats on your award!

Jeni said...

Loved the story of the Scottish lady -very well written.
Now, tell me something please, just what is a PFC? I'm probably just having one humungous brain fart -been in this state for a couple of weeks now it seems -but I just can't figure this one out, kiddo.

CG said...

I don't know what a PFC is either! And if you come to Scotland to visit your new friend; come and visit me too!!

SnoopMurph said...

Wow, what a great new friend (I secretly wondered if you would insert Craig Ferguson into the conversation can hope) and she sounds a lot spunky than most of the 30 year olds I know (myself included).

An aside about clothing stores and not reaching stuff...I walked out of several stores where I could not possibly reach the item to see it. I am 5'2 and one certain children's place does that. It is really frustrating. That's my vent.

Have a good day!!

bobbie said...

I'm glad you made another friend in the lovely little Scottish lady. And I'm glad you've been working so hard and not sick or something. We've missed you.

Richard said...

Ah...another day in the big-ass store and you meet a 92 year old from Scotland. Girl are you keeping notes? "The Life and Times in the big-ass store" is just waiting to be written... by YOU!

Take your digital camera to work. Ask permission (slip some forms in your purse) and photograph willing participants.

If management catches you- say it's just for your diary.

I would love to see you in print Diane.

I'm telling you there's a book in there.

Don't wait another Day - Do it now.

I know good writing when I read it and baby you got it.

Anyway....just what I (almost published writer) think.


Dianne said...

PFC is the monthy madness of R.E.H - it's the Picture Fiction Challenge. I'd insert a link but I'm on the phone and about to lose my ability to hold the receiver.

Jay - I love your accent! and yes - I shall need to find more missions for the undead fools. As a kindness of course, to keep them out of trouble.

I love you too Raven - I don't know about awesome, perhaps just crazed? I'm stuck on the PFC as well - I've shifted gears too many times and lost what was originally in my head.

law student - then you'll be a HOT old Mama blazing down the road with her not so "icky" hair flowing behind her. I love the image.

jeni - your brain is not farting, I was speaking as if everyone knew what it was because I knew what it was. I think my brain is most definitely gaseous.

cg - it would be so wonderful to visit you!

snoopmurph - I almost did mention Craig but then I heard him saying "Oh yeah! we all know each other in Scotland!" and I felt silly. I have tried to point out the can't reach issues, especially when there is only one foot-stool and one pole and they're always missing. The answer is that display space is expensive and must be utilized. Then have someone around to reach crap!

bobbie - I miss me too! At any given moment I'm not sure what the priority is. But it will pass. Thanks again for the award. It truly made me snap out of it and brought me back to center.

Dianne said...

Richard - you do wonders for my confidence. I was going to say ego but I can't remember where I left my ego. I am keeping notes. I decided that if I have to be there then I will get all I can out of it. Thank You so much. You continue to make me feel like a rock star!

magnetbabe said...

Thank heavens for spunky old ladies to make that job bearable. And I love how the manager excludes an entire consumer group from sandals. IMHO if you make it 90 you deserve to wear whatever the eff you want.

Diane Mandy said...

Your from Jersey? I'm from Jersey!

But when we moved to rural Virginia, my mother threatened to lock us in a closet if we ever spoke with a Southern accent. But, the kids in class beat us up because we spoke like Yankees.

Under these conditions, you learn very quickly to speak without any accent.

But a Scottish accent? Now EVERYONE has to love that.

As always, you wrote a very entertaining tale. Thanks for sharing!

Doc said...

Great read Dianne... I like spunky older ladies too. It's like they have seen it all before and don't have time to put up with a bunch of crap!

Sparkling Red said...

By that age, people tend to go to one extreme or the other: either they get to be amazingly chipper, or horribly sour. I once had a Scottish woman in her 90's grip my hand, bore her beady gaze into me, and command me: "Don't ever get this old. It's horrible."
Yeesh! :-p

Betty said...

I like to think I am in training to be a spunky old lady. But, I have a feeling I will be more irascible than spunky. Loved your story!

Dianne said...

magnetbabe - this manager exludes groups left and right. I don't think she's ever been more than 2 miles from home.

diane mandy - I've only been living in NJ for about 5 years. Lived my whole life in Brooklyn. Talk about an accent!! I used to force my son to say 'R' words. I hated the idea of him sounding dumb.

exactly doc! My Nana used to say what a shame it was to get older and not be any wiser. or to not have fun. and she always said exactly what was on her mind. she would talk to anyone and everyone, it's where I get it from.

sparkling red - she was serious!? not tongue-in-cheek? that would have scared me a bit.

ahhh betty - now you know you have spunky just waiting for ya!! :)

Jo said...

That was priceless! What a darling, witty woman...I can just see the 2 of you getting into all sorts of mischief. She's right too, you are a Cheeky Girl.

Stay put Nana. It's all good. LOL! Lordy, I just love you.

Here's to climbing ladders at 92. I hope I'm in that club when I get there.

Smalltown RN said...

that's a wonderful post....92 that is awesome....I've been volunteering at the nursing home and I just love hearing their stories....I take this young guy(79) out for walks and coffee....he has early dementia...we have a great time...before he retired he was a train conductor for 35years...I love listening to his stories...we can learn so much from them...they certainly see the world in a different light....thank you for spending some time with this most probably made her day!

Michael Manning said...

Dianne: And I just know that if you took her up on the visit thing, you would be welcomed as "The Cheeky Girl with The Cool American Accent!" :D What a fun read!!!

the walking man said...

Aye a wee sweet cheeky lass.

Don't worry eventually the overwhelming feeling of too many work hours passes. You sound too organized for it to be any other way.



Dianne said...

jo - I can totally see you climbing ladders and being sassy and sexy at 92! and I can't ever say this enough - I love you too, brushed with sunlight.

smalltown rn - I don't know if I made her day but she made mine. As I commented on your blog - what great work you're doing! and I hope you continue to blog about your volunteer experiences. Nana would love you - she had little patience for young folks who disregarded those who came before them. What a waste of wonderful, collective brilliance to not respect and soak in those who are older. You're a good soul smalltown rn.

thanks Michael. what a trip that would be. I am definitely going to stay in touch with Lovely Scottish Lady.

"Aye a wee sweet cheeky lass." - Oh Mark, that just started off my day with a warm feeling. thanks!

tt said...

hey 'cheeky girl'...I love that. She's a dear old soul who pegged you right from the get go! I'd love to find out what goes on in her life. I hope you'll share the letters you two will surely exchange.;)
And I completely agree w/ richard!! 100%!! there's a great book just waiting to be told and sold! What a fabulous way to connect with the masses....and to give more people a glimpse into your 'very large heart' and'cheeky' self.
I have a friend in Tx who;s now taking care of his elderly father.
We exchange emails telling of our present delemas and asking each other for 'how-to''s getting pretty funny. I told him we have to save everything just in case we can put a book together to keep everyone informed of how caregiving can be humerous at times.
I squeeze you!

Odat said...

Meeting up with a person like that is what' it's all about! I'm so glad you shared that! and for telling us what a PFC is...;-)


Knight said...

Oh I love this story! I want to be there. I want to meet you both and take you out for tea and coffee.

Nettie said...

What a wonderful experience! Thank you for sharing that. I will be leaving today with a smile on my face and attempting an Irish accent.

Dianne said...

tt - I squeeze you right back! and I think you've got a book in you too.

odat - it's amazing to me how many people pass on the chance to talk to someone new, someone different - the moment Lovely Scottish Lady smiled at me I knew I had discovered a treasure.

knight - tea and coffee would be great! could we spike them? you're such a dear person.

nettie - smiles and accents are good things. glad you liked the story, thank you.

Reb said...

What a great story. I know how frustrating it can be working retail, I am glad you are able to keep your cool.

Ramblings of a Villas Girl said...

Hi Dianne! I am glad you made a new friend. One can never have to many. Have a good one. Lisa

Farmer*swife said...

Awww, great story! I love to meet up with highly atune and still aware and living older folks. Some people will pass them by and not realize the "jewel" they are missing.

I love the stories. And, the witt! And, I too am a lover of accents. Irish, Scottish, Australian, Italian, English (true), Swedish ;), and of course, a real, true Southern Cowboy drawl. (We have a lot of those down here...I like'em.)

I haven't seen any PFC? I looked for you on r.e.h.'s PFC line-up. Hope you didn't scrap it? (Course, it's maybe).

Anyhow, thanks for sharing that sweet and wonderfull to read story.

And, the other co-worker was complaining -- like, people don't deserve sandals in their 90s? Sheeze.

Dianne said...

thanks reb! I find it easier to keep my cool when I just look for the nice or the silly or even the absurd.

you are right about that Lisa, thanks

hey farmer's wife - yeah I scrapped the PFC this month - just way too much work. Your story was great!! and I'm glad you enjoyed this story :)

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