Cauldron

I like books.

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I live in a small town and enjoy writing about the inhabitants. I spend most of my time perusing through used book stores looking for that one great book that I don't have; consequently, I have rooms filled with books. I am a book addict.

Friday, September 16, 2005

It was just ma'am

Something very curious happened to me today. I view the world through a Marxist lens and because of that, I see everything in regards to class, race, sex, age and so on. I am especially sensitive to class issues that are brought about at the university and wonder how, a place with such a socialist’s appearance and even philosophy can and does separate its citizens into worlds of the haves and those of the have-nots, that is in the working atmosphere.

After getting to school and to the library, I headed to the elevator where an older man and woman stood. They were janitors and both seemed past the age of working. When I got to where they stood, I say, going up and they say yes, giving me little eye contact. The elevator arrives and I wait for the two older-than-me to enter and they stood back. I waited and the man grabbed the door to keep it from closing and looked at me and gestured with his head for me to enter, which I finally did. How strange. On the elevator, I tried to engage the two to no avail but when it got to the 4th floor, they again insisted that I go through the doorway first. When I walked away, I said have a nice day and the woman says you too ma’am.

I can see they might have been confused that I was faculty, me being older and all, but surely the knee knockers and T-shirt and backpack and book in hand was an indication that I was an older student. Even if I was faculty, I am certainly younger and why would they call me ma’am? It was almost servile or even worse. I felt weird and class is something that I have to really be careful with since I am and have always been poor and from the wrong side of the tracks and all of that, so when someone, especially someone older, addresses me in a way that makes me feel superior, I feel guilty and unworthy and it shouldn’t occur. No one should ever feel obligated to become the one saying ma’am unless you are younger and trying to be respectful. I guess my point is that it’s a shame that the man and woman felt obligated to offer me some form of respect when in fact, I was the one who should show them respect. They are older and all that.

4 Comments:

Blogger Mouse said...

Tsk, Tsk , the never of saying Ma'am. U know my momma would smack me if I called her ma'am. Say u found anyone to run to get your coffee in the morning?

6:57 PM  
Blogger zelda1 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:31 AM  
Blogger zelda1 said...

It wasn't the ma'am that bothered me. Living in Arkansas and going to school at the university, I am used to the younger students, out of respect, calling me ma'am. What I am not used to is having an older woman reference me by ma'am. It happened because of class and a faux class at that. I am probably poorer than she, but she, being the janitor, felt the need to treat me superior, that's what bothered me. By the way, I haven't seen you here before, welcome.

3:36 AM  
Blogger zelda1 said...

No one runs for my coffee but I am getting really good at walking to and fro, it takes a while but I make it.

2:02 PM  

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