Lately, I've been fighting off the urge to use profane language at inappropriate times. You may say, "Lacy, isn't profanity always inappropriate?" And I'd say, "Get the hell out of here." Most of the time cussing is unnecessary, but sometimes only a profane word can truly express your full meaning. In those situations, I say cuss. But my problem is that I keep wanting to use profanity in a sarcastic way and with strangers.
When I was at the grocery store today, a clerk asked me if I was doing alright. I wanted to say, "Oh, hell yeah!" in an overly enthusiastic way. I mean, I'm grocery shopping. I'm not doing alright. I wish I was home and not at a grocery store considering what type of salad dressing I'd enjoy most, whenever (if ever) I get in the mood to make, and then eat, a salad. I know she doesn't really care how I'm doing. I know she has to ask me that. And I know I'm supposed to answer, "Yup" and move along to the produce section.
It has become particularly difficult not to cuss while at work. At least several times a day, customers will ask me if the baked ziti is good? What about the cheesesteaks? How about the Italian stromboli -- is that good? It doesn't matter how many different variations of the word "great" I use, the customers always look at me as if I'm suspect. As if I'm trying to steer them away from the supreme edible joys of the stuffed shells towards the dastardly Pizza Steak. But the Pizza Steak is delicious. And when customers look at me and ask, "How is the Pizza Steak?" I wanna look at them with a blank stare and say, "It's fucking delicious!" But I can't.
I get a lot of customers that ask for my opinion about their specific palettes and appetites. I get a lot of, "Do you think I would like that?" or, "Do you think that will fill me up?" I always respond, "Yeah, I do." What I really want to say is, "Lady, how the hell would I know? I don't know you." But I don't.
I know that I shouldn't say these things, but I really want to. Not so much to effectively communicate with people, but I just want to get a reaction out of them. Hearing somebody curse at inappropriate times is understandably shocking. I don't think it's funny when you see kids or toddlers curse. They don't know what they are saying; they are just repeating some garbage their parents said. But I think it's hilarious when old people curse. Old people cursing is one of my favorite things in the world. Because they do know what they are saying. They know that it's possibly inappropriate, and they just don't give a crap.
Six months ago, I met this 88-year-old woman named Gloria while I was at Reginella's. I know she was 88-years-old because she told me her age right when I met her, like most old people do. When I first saw Gloria, she was walking through the parking lot behind an elderly couple that both had walkers. Suddenly, Gloria busted out into a brisk walk (a full fledged run in old people terms) and passed the elderly couple. I thought, "Oh, how nice, she's going to hold the door open for them." Instead, Gloria not only let the door close behind her, but I think I saw her give it a swift kick with the back of her canvas sneaker, so that it would close faster. I knew then that this old lady was going to be a firecracker.
I sat her at a table near the windows where the light was good, and told her I'd be back with a menu. She yelled, "And when you come back, bring some coffee with you!" For a minute, I considered getting in my car, driving to Starbucks, and returning to her 10 minutes later sipping on my own tall, non-fat mocha latte. Since technically, she never asked that the coffee be for her. I considered it, but decided it was a bad idea since I'd once asked Vinnie, my boss, why old people always drink so much coffee? He told me it was because, "It's the only thing still keeping their heart beating."
When I came back with the coffee and her menu, she started to asked me about ziti. She explained that her boyfriend (88 and has a boyfriend?!) loved ziti and talked about it all the time. She looked at me and said, "He's always going on and on about ziti. Ziti, ziti, ziti. But I don't know what the fuck it is!" That was one of the best moments of my life.
I explained to her what ziti was (thick tubes of pasta) and she didn't seem very interested. Then we had a very long discussion about the eggplant parmigiana and whether or not it was like the eggplant parmigiana that her friend Cecilia in New Jersey used to make. I told her that since her friend Cecilia from New Jersey did not pass on her recipe to us before she died, then probably it wouldn't taste like hers. Instead a Mexican named Shaggy would be cooking her dinner, and therefore, the eggplant would probably be more delicious, and be prepared in a lot less time. So eggplant parmigiana with a side of angel hair pasta it was. When she ordered the angel hair pasta, a co-worker said I should have responded, "What -- no fucking ziti?" Ugh, I totally missed an opportunity to use a pop culture reference from The Sopranos. But honestly, I would have never had the chutzpah to say it, even if I did think of it.
Gloria turned out to be a pretty cool old broad. She told me about her boyfriend William and how he took really good care of her. She showed me all the jewelry he had bought her, which coincidentally she was wearing all at once. You can never wear too much jewelry when you're an old lady. A ring for each finger, I say. She told me how William lets her borrow his car since her car's air conditioning broke (8 years ago), and she has not gotten around to having it repaired. She always has to go out to eat alone since William is wheelchair-bound and she is not strong enough to pull his wheelchair out of the trunk of the car. This made me feel kinda sad for the two of them. Gloria said that she once joked that maybe he should dump her, and get a younger girlfriend that was stronger. He said that he preferred "smart and beautiful" over "young and strong."
I helped Gloria pack-up her leftovers, so she could bring dinner home to William and I walked her back to her car, his car I suppose. I haven't seen her since; it's been 6 months. I assume she's dead since that's what I assume of any old person that I haven't seen or heard from in a while. They must have just died.
Well...so long, Gloria. It was nice fucking knowing you!