This week a twenty-something woman called me sweetie on the phone. There are times when terms of endearment are sweet, and times when they are laser beams into a person's skull. Guess which one I experienced. It got me thinking back on times when a few words, and one time one simple word, sent me spiraling into a total fit.
Years ago on an exercise walk in my old neighborhood I crossed paths with a woman walking her dog. She took issue with me being on the same sidewalk and moved across the street. A minute later, a pit bull with no owner and no collar rounded the corner. I casually stepped into the street as if I didn't care the dog was only a block and a half ahead. Halfway to the other sidewalk, the woman with the dog yelled, "Lady, do not come over here!" Oh, did that piss me off. I can't remember exactly what I said, but it amounted to "Sure, I'll be a chew toy so you and your dog can get to safety." A second after my rant I looked back at her sour face and yelled, "And don't call me lady!"
Again, years ago when I was very pregnant with my oldest, a massive truck backed out of a driveway right in front of my car. I had to screech to a stop, so of course, I honked, but this time it wasn't to get pissy, it was to tell the driver his reverse lights were out.
"Hey, your reverse-"
"Shut the F up, you F-ing C-word."
"But your lights-"
He flipped me off.
I blame the hormones and the fact that the C-word is the worst thing to call a person, but I had to pull over because the asshole hurt my feelings. I looked at his crappy tan house, "Your house sucks and you're mean and you're going to a special hell for calling a pregnant woman the C-word." He was long gone, but I felt a little better.
My sister was teasing me (not unusual) and called me a lazy slut.
"I am not lazy! You're a lazy slut."
"You're okay with being called a slut." I shrugged. So slut was totally okay with me, but lazy got me riled.
How about you all? Do you have seemingly harmless trigger words? Have you been insulted and had no response until the person was long gone?
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