i was at starbucks yesterday, picking up a large coffee and cramming the pockets of my hoodie with free itunes. on my way out, i ran into a woman i know and her wee child. we exchanged starbuckian pleasantries, then she introduced me to her daughter:
"this is my daughter [wee child]," she said.
the wee child looked up at me.
"[wee child], this is miss [pista]," she said -- although using my real last name.
i thought she was just being cute with this miss business. giving me a little nickname. like how if, hypothetically, on my first day of in-car drivers' ed training i hypothetically ran a red light. the instructor slammed on her custom-made passenger-side brake, earning us both a sash of horizontal seat belt bruising, then turned to me and and, hypothetically, said:
"that little manuever, missy, would have cost you your liscense!"
or, like, if your mom met you on the front steps on her way to work in the morning, and you were just sneaking in after falling asleep at your boyfriends' house and you were 24ish, she might spit between clenched teeth:
"listen here, miss christa. i don't know what you heathens were up to, but us catholics are home by at least by 2 a.m."
so we continued chatting, then i left -- rich with free downloads -- and it took me a block to realize: hey. wait. i am miss pista. if you are a wee child and you meet me -- an adult, according to my birth certificate and intolerance of super loud music and super spicy chili -- i am miss pista.
this is the first time i've ever been introduced to someone as miss pista. as you know, i'm not a teacher or regularly in trouble with the law -- as far as the law knows. i'm not usually assigned a title, per se. even when i'm subscribing to something new or filling out forms at urgent care, i tend to gloss over the whole miss, mrs., ms. portion of the paperwork. i'm sure in sixth grade, i probably refered to myself as christa l. pista, esquire. but that was just hommage to bill and ted's excellent adventure. but that was a phase. like this whole blogging thing.
this miss thing wasn't insulting. it wasn't like being ma'am-ed. it was more like wearing a training bra for the first time:
a) a little itchy
b) a sign of support
c) something my grandpa would laugh about
d) something i could shed when i got home.
i don't know why this is so strange. the teaching of manners to children. despite the fact that i can burp "thank you" i, too, was taught manners. if i were at a slumber party at fannies' parents house and we were giggling too loudly and her mom came downstairs to shush us, i'd say: "sorry, mrs. mcfanster."
or, if i was at a stoplight exhaling camel light, and turned and saw princess linda's mom at the light next to me, i'd cough, throw the cigarette and say to myself: sheeeeet. mrs. princess linda just saw me smoking.
and actually, it is worse than that. my mom fixed my aunt up with my high school track coach -- a man i'd known for years as mr. miller. they got married when i was in college, and to this day we have this exchange every time we see each other:
me: hi mr. miller.
mr. miller: christa. you can call me [first name]
me: okay, mr. miller.