COFFEE SHOP TALK—Am I a Lady of a Certain…What?

“I love your shirt,” the young man behind the counter says when I walk through the door. 

I look down to see what I’m wearing. It’s my Beatle shirt. “It’s Webber Wear. A friend of mine, Kenny Webber painted it,” I say.

“You’re lucky,” the young man says. “Does he do canvases?” 

“Yes.” 

He waves his hand in the air. “I would love a wall done just like that with the same colours.” 

And I think: Wow, he’s talking to me as if I’m a young hip-chick. “That would be sooo cool,” I say, trying to sound groovy. 

As I turn to leave he raises a fist in the air and says, “Wear that shirt proud.” 

I head down the sidewalk, with a bounce in my step, coffee cup in hand, feeling young and, as we would say, nifty. In the store two doors down I pick up two cushions and take them to the counter. The sales woman whispers, “are you a lady of a certain…” 

And I think: Is she asking me if I’m a lady of ill repute? Who asks that kind of question? And do they still have ladies of ill repute? “Sorry, I don’t think I heard your question correctly,” I say. 

 “Are you a lady of a certain age?” She almost mouths the words making it difficult to hear. “We have to be careful how we ask the ladies if they’re a senior. For the senior discount, you know.” 

And I think: A few minutes ago I was young and cool having a conversation with a millennium about art. Now I’m a lady of a certain age? How did that happen? “What’s the discount?” I ask.

She raises her eyebrows and smiles. “Seniors get a twenty-percent discount.” And I think: Do I tell the truth and take the discount? I mean twenty-percent is a lot. Or do I stick with the young hip-chick thing? The discount won.