Neither of my parents used profanity, but once when the carpenter misplaced a closet in the house he was building for them, Mom did say, “That makes me think damn!”
Schmidt-the-carpenter — who was also a deacon in the Baptist church my family attended — first registered shock and then gasped, “Now you done cussed.”
Mom sought me out later to assure me she had not cussed, that what I’d overheard was righteous indignation. Really, I thought, but I gave her a pass. The same pass I gave myself several times in the last week or so.
Last Friday when I phoned a local restaurant to reserve 5:30 accommodations for four, the reservationist asked, “Would you need about two hours?” Need? Need? I asked if he was telling me he wanted us out of there by then, and he said they did have a crowd coming in at 7:30. That was the first pass I had to give myself. “Sorry, we’re booked up this evening,” would have been kinder.
Saturday morning I ordered cat food off the web and was promised that a receipt and tracking info would immediately arrive by email. When it didn’t, I worked up the need for another pass. Monday afternoon I emailed the company my displeasure in a none-too-kindly tone. The representative’s response was immediate. I’d not only given them a garbled email address, I’d failed to take the 10 percent discount they were offering. I about hurt myself in my haste to erase the pass I’d had no right to give myself in the first place.
Tuesday, after I’d recovered from the shock of the estimate given me by a new lawn service, I signed a contract for various tasks and the crew showed up Thursday as agreed. They stacked the 15 bags of mulch I needed off to the side, and I suggested they pull the few green sprouts in the flowerbed before spreading it.
"Spread it?” said one of them.
"Of course,” I said flexing my pitiful biceps. “Surely you didn’t expect me to do it.”
"That’ll be $35 extra,” he said, and I gave myself another pass and paid it. It wasn’t until the next day I discovered that one of them had forced the lock on my backyard gate and bent the iron rod that locks it, thereby necessitating yet another pass.
Then yesterday — the pièce de résistance — my optometrist dilated my eyes and sent me out into sunshiny 3:30 rush traffic to feel my way north on Bryant. There was nothing righteous about my indignation at that point, and no end to the number of passes I might have given myself. Sometimes, though, it feels better to indulge an unrepentant damn.
MARJORIE ANDERSON is an Edmond resident.