Thursday, June 11, 2015

Taking Offense at "Mate"

The two oldest ones and I are at dinner whilst Pete and Youngest are at soccer practice. Today was the last day of school. Technically, for Eldest, yesterday was the last day of high school for him, when he polished off his AP Calculus final at 10:15 a.m. But today is officially the last day of school for the district. Consider this a preliminary graduation dinner and a welcome-to-senior-year dinner for Daughter.

Or consider it an alternative to me having to actually cook because Pete isn't home until after 8.

So, there we are, passing the time talking about the recent Reddit FPH controversy and where Eldest will be seated at graduation tomorrow night and where Daughter will find a job for the summer. (The last subject? Far more touchy than any FPH post I've ever seen.)

Two women sitting near us have finished their meal and are departing. They are older. Maybe 65? They sit in a booth, facing each other, shooting the breeze. One -- the one I will later offend -- sits against the wall with her feet on the booth bench. (Now talk about being offensive! Dude, put your feet on the floor. What are you, a toddler?)

They leave. And I notice the other woman has left her bag on the bench. "Excuse me?" I shout, jumping up to follow them out. "Excuse me!" I say, louder this time. But she continues on. Her rude friend has stopped to coo at a baby in another booth. I tap her on the shoulder and say, "Excuse me, but your mate left something at the table."

"My 'mate'?!" she says, horrified. "She's not my 'mate.' Why would you call her that?"

"I mean 'mate' as in 'friend,' as in the Australian use of the word," I sputter. "I didn't mean 'your partner.'"

She comes back to the booth, grabs the bag and, as the din quiets, I hear her say to her friend, "She called you my 'mate.'" She says it so indignantly.

I sit back down and say to the kids, "Jesus, what a bitch. She didn't even say 'thank you.'"

And I think, "As if any woman would have her."

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