Most of my friends know that in my retirement I have my “fun job” – I work part time at Crate and Barrel. I love the store, have loved it for years even before it became anywhere near the corporation it is today, and I truly like the people I work with. It is a great way to still have some challenging structured work in my life without the greater responsibilities.
So, last night I was at Crate and as we were stocking the store for closing a customer came in and purchased some items from my section. I eyeballed from afar what she had taken and went to the stockroom to get replacements for the display. One thing I needed was three glasses of a particular type called a cooler. To my relief we had just three left on the stockroom shelf. If we didn’t have enough we would have had to do what is known as a fix and either change how the display was arranged or change out all of the items on the display and replace them with different items.
So merrily I went on my way feeling very happy that we could avoid a fix. When I got to the display and began to replace the glasses, all of a sudden I noticed that I had miscounted and that I needed four glasses instead of three. I was not amused and not in the mood for a fix and so, without thinking twice, I stood there and said, “Oh s***!” I thought I said it under my breath but then I heard “Jan” and looked to see two of my co-workers looking at me – one nearly busting a gut with laughter and the other smiling a big grin and looking like she couldn’t believe what I had just said – I knew that I had said it much louder than I had even realized. It was one of those Kodak moments.
As I was driving home after work I started rehashing the incident in my mind. I found the whole thing so strange and the only thing that kept going through my mind was boy have times changed for me. First of all, I am a big believer in being appropriate at work. I think I was tired and ready to go home and so my little expletive came out with a greater ease than I would have liked. But second of all, I found it funny that people might think that I am so prim and proper that I do not swear.
All throughout grammar school and high school I was the good little girl – didn’t do things like smoking or swearing. But then the college years rolled around and things changed pretty quickly. I remember the first time I dropped the f-bomb when I was in college. I waited for lightening to strike and the gates of hell to open and suck me in. But nothing happened. So I waited a few moments and I dropped it again – and again nothing happened. Pretty soon it became my favorite noun, verb, adjective, adverb – you name it – any way I could use it, I would. I became so comfortable saying it that when I went home from school on break I dropped it in front of my mother. Boy did I get the lecture about what it was exactly that I was learning in college.
Early on swearing was a way for me to feel equal to others, especially men. Men can swear and often people do not bat an eye – women swear and it is not considered lady-like. It was also just plain fun. It made me feel like an adult and every once in awhile the shock value was just too good to pass up. Most of my friends could pull out the gutter mouth just as well as I could – so I never gave swearing another thought.
Thank goodness I learned along the way that there is a time and a place for everything and as I matured I learned to temper my words so that they were appropriate for the situation and the people involved. But there are very few if any words in the English language that compare with s*** or f*** and so sometimes they just need to be said, loudly and with great conviction. At least I think so.
I think the thing that surprised me the most about the Crate incident was not what I said but that some people may have an impression of me that is so different from who I am. And that just makes me laugh. Recently I penned a comment on a friend’s status on Facebook and said LMAO. Another friend commented that she laughed her a** off that I even wrote that comment. Are you kidding me? Me, not swear? I had to chuckle. Maybe it is something that is attributed to age – the older you get it is assumed that you don’t do those kinds of things anymore. Boy, I would hate to think that as you get older all of the joys of your youth are stripped from you. I will not go into great detail about the things that I have and have not done in my lifetime, but I am no saint and find it hard to believe that there are many saints out there. And I just found it odd that people may actually believe that I am still the “little miss goodie two shoes” I was in grammar school and high school.
So, here and now I am making a bold confession – yes, I do swear and have done so since I was eighteen years old – probably a late bloomer by today’s standards. I do regret saying s*** at work yesterday – it was definitely inappropriate and I am glad no customers were around to hear it. But every once in a while I find it cathartic and even fun to rip out a good swear word. So I hope I have not burst anyone’s bubble regarding their impression of me. And if I did… well WTF! (Just kidding, but it sure felt good).