Honk if you believe in civility. (I heard a radio DJ pronounce it “civil-ty” today, but at least she believed in it.) Last night we had a Representative from South Carolina yelling “You lie!” to a sitting President of the United States, who was addressing a joint session of Congress. The Congressman apologized today for his lack of civility. The young radio DJ didn’t even know how to pronounce the word. It’s not used much these days.
This morning I went to “Poolates,” a Pilates-class-in-92-degree-water for mostly old broads, including some really old broads. There are usually about 15 of us, including almost always a certain woman named Shirley. We’ve all had a Shirley in a class of some sort, and when you’re as old as I am, you’ve had a Shirley in one class too many. My friend Mary Gretchen and I keep fantasizing about ways to drown Shirley in the pool. Shirley would be a manic depressive if she had a depressive stage, but she seems to be stuck in permanent mania. She must talk louder than anyone else. She must comment on each and every word out of the instructor’s mouth. She must constantly require “help.” She once held the entire class hostage while she told a long, very boring joke.
Anyway, Shirley was there. So was a large woman I hadn’t seen before. When the instructor threw a beach ball into the water and called out “Toss this around, y’all,” just before the class got going, the strange woman glowered. “I thought this was a Pilates class,” she barked over the hubbub. “It is,” replied our genteel little instructor, “it’s just a fun way to get it started.” “This is not the kind of atmosphere I would expect to have in a Pilates class,” growled Strange Woman. Then, as the class started the first exercises, she heaved herself out of the pool. Now, people come and go from the pool all the time. But as Strange Woman disappeared around a corner, Shirley bellowed to all of us, “Never mind, y’all. It’s just bad karma or she got out on the wrong side of the bed this morning.” Typical Shirley.
The next thing we knew, Strange Woman reappeared from around the corner where we all thought she’d gone for good, holding a pair of goggles in her hand. “Maybe you could say that a little louder,” she yelled across the pool to Shirley. “I couldn’t hear you very well.” For once, Shirley’s mouth was hanging open with no words coming out. “And then,” continued Strange Woman in a menacing tone, “you could shut your mouth.”
“Shit, man!” I thought to myself. “This could be an old lady SmackDown!” But to my relief or disappointment, nothing further happened. Strange Woman starting doing laps by herself, with her goggles on, and Shirley recovered sufficiently to huff “Well! I apologize to everyone! I seem to have misinterpreted.” Then she was about 3% quieter for the rest of the class. In what I have concluded was typical Southern lady fashion, my classmates and the genteel little instructor did not betray by word or eyelash that they had heard or seen a thing, and I followed suit.
Seems to be happening a lot lately.