Monday, December 17, 2007

Casual Endearments

This morning the Engineer took my car and me to his office well before the sun rose. He's headed out of town again, and will go from office to airport later in the day. I had a back seat full of Christmas boxes to ship and, since his office is near UPS, I went to a restaurant between the two places to have a bite of breakfast while waiting for UPS to open its door.

As an aside: Geeze o' Pete! Do you know how much it costs to ship packages 3rd Day?!?!?!?!? I almost had a heart attack! Thank goodness for plastic money. The Engineer said to "Do it," so he can't complain when he gets the bill.

The waitress at the family-style restaurant was excellent, very attentive and on the shady side of 50. Having worked as a waitress in my teen years, I am polite and a heavy tipper. I think most experienced waitresses have radar that can detect this. She took my order and said, "That'll be up in just a minute dear."

I don't know about most folks, but it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to be called dear.

As she flitted around the dining room, pouring coffee and serving eggs, I notice that she called everyone dear, sweetheart and honey. This kinda took the shine off my warm fuzzy as I realized it was her standard mode of address. Ah well, she was a fine waitress, so she got a 25% tip nonetheless.

The use of casual endearments is a phenomenon I have noticed in middle-aged waitresses across the country. Back in North Carolina it was "darlin'." In Michigan it was "sweetie." I wonder if it improves the size of the tip or if that's how they address all casually met people in their lives.

I was raised by a Proper Southern Lady, so I call any woman over a certain age Ma'am. Men of a similar age are Sir. Can't help it, that's what comes out my mouth. I must admit to feeling rather foolish, though, responding to my waitress's "dear" with "Ma'am."

For the record, if you ever hear an endearment from me, it's not a mode of address, it's a sign of affection.

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