Thank you, Ma’am…

Recently, I have found myself more and more frequently addressed as “Ma’am” by salespersons, waitstaff, etc.  While I am glad to know that there are still polite individuals in this world, I am not exactly flattered that these people think I fall into the “old enough to be called “Ma’am” category.  I think the question of whether or not you should refer to someone as Ma’am is the like asking a woman if she’s pregnant.  You don’t do it unless you know the answer is yes.

I don’t feel older than late 20’s.  According to the calendar, I’m mid-thirties.  By the mirror, I am probably some where in between.  So, when did I become old enough to be called “ma’am?”

I don’t mind being in my thirties.  After all, I earned them.  But, of course, I do miss some of the care-free days of my “misspent youth.”  (“Misspent” being a matter of perspective, since I was a pretty responsible and level-headed young adult.)  There’s just something about the 18-25 years: your first real job, taking spur of the moment vacations, all-nighters with friends, all-nighters at work,  parties for no reason, shopping sprees, your first new car – no one even considering calling you “ma’am.”

I know that the relationships and career I have and enjoy now are from the seeds I planted in my young adult years.  And, no, I wouldn’t trade them for the world.  Now I find myself in that unique stage of life where I am paying off my education while saving for my daughter’s – which apparently coincides with the time when people start calling you “ma’am.”  For now, when I hear that word, it is it bit jarring and it takes me off guard.  I almost reflexively say, “who me?” as I look to see if there’s an old lady behind me.

Since this isn’t really a topic that has much depth to it, I guess I will call it quits here.  Besides, my back and knees are stiffening up; I need to go get some ice and Bengay cream.