Monday, July 07, 2008

How old do I have to be

to be taken seriously? Really.

When I was in my 20's and I was a highschool substitute, I used to often get mistaken for a student by condescending secretaries. I would go to ask where the photocopier was and be told, "You need permission from your teacher to use the photocopier, dear". Even when people knew I was on staff, some would often pass off my comments or ideas with a vague smile and blank look as if to say "You are not old enough for me to listen to you, and your idea does not fit into my pre-packaged paradigym. Therefore, I am going to pretend that you did not speak".

Now that I'm in my 30's, I find the same thing often happens. I'm hanging out with the local moms (who are my age, I might add) and I'll say something relating to attachment parenting or cloth diapers or how no, actually, we didn't "all"go through the getting-stupidly-drunk-and-sleeping-around stage, and so we don't need to assume its inevitable that our children will, and I get the same thing. Same blank look. Same "its only Jill, just pretend she didn't speak and go on with the conversation" attitude.

Today I had the same thing happen for the umpteenth time at the quilting store. I went in to buy some embroidery floss and some fusible web to iron-on fuse some stuff on my latest mini quilt. I don't know where it is in the store becuase I've never done applique before. So I ask the woman, and she sells me this Heat and Bond stuff. I specifically said, "I want the stuff you just have to iron on.". I get home and realize its the stuff you have to sew around, too. Did she not hear me? Of course she did. Its probably just twenty cents more per metre and she thought "Oh, its only Jill. She's not a SERIOUS quilter, so she'll be fine with this stuff". When really, I have some of that stuff that they sold me LAST time I was trying to do applique (anoter customer in the store corrected the lady who was helping me and said, "That's not what she's looking for" to which the lady in the store said, "Well, its only for a kids project so it doens't really matter"). And I couldn't get it to work. On my coasters I used regular fusible interfacing and just zig-zagged them in place, and the jeans I tried to patch with this stuff, the patches fell off in the wash even after I blanket stitched it in place. They are constantly trying to sell me broadcloth instead of quilting solids and flanelette instead of flanel. In one of the local city's fabriclands, I had a woman tell me that I DID NOT want the large bag of stuffing. "Oh, you don't want THAT, dear" (subtext: becuase you're just a silly little girl who couldn't possibly do enough sewing to use up that whole bag of stuffing).

Dear. That's the sticker for me. Its always "dear". Like I"m their granddaughter and they're trying to teach me how to use a sewing machine for the first time. Like I can't sew a straight line and they're going to have to look over my shoulder to make sure I do it correctly. Like my sewing and quilting can't really matter because I"m not 500 years old and don't use calicos or polyester in my sewing, and after all, its only for my kids, or for some tiny mini quilt. That doesn't really matter, does it?

I feel like storming down there and exploding at the woman. Especially since Aaron threw a mug at my head while I was taking a rest on the carpet and I'm slightly concussed right now. But all that will do is make sure I get even worse service at the only sewing / quilting store within an hour's drive of my house. So instead I"ll just go in there and smile and find the stuff I want myself and make her cut it for me and leave as if this is normal and of course she misunderstood me, ha ha. Ug. Small towns drive me crazy sometimes.


Beck said...

lol. I know I shouldn't laugh, but it's just so nice that this happens to other people besides myself. So don't beat yourself up about it, it's not just you, and other people get the same treatment. Just think of when you're an old woman and then they'll say that you don't know what you're talking about because you're too old. :P Well perhaps that's not very helpful... but you could always say terrible shocking things when your old that people will pretend they didn't hear because you're old. :P(and yeah small towns are frustrating!)

bettyninja said...

I have the same thing happen to me all the time- everywhere! I look very young for how old I am (creeping into 30). People will ask me when I graduate high school, how college is going (even though I technically am going back to grad school, but they are referring to being like 19 and in college), etc etc. Just yesterday I was telling another female on my group mountain bike ride that I was working and going to school. And she was all like "I remember what that was like" I probably took much too much offense to it, but I felt like saying- "I remember what it is like too and I am not looking forward to being a student again." Argh. At least we will still look cute when we are old.