Thursday, July 3, 2008

Defining Moments

Awhile back one of our high school student workers turned 15. Coming from a good Mexican family, she invited us all to her Quinceanera.

My coworker and friend, let's just call him Richard, has never heard of this word before (not surprising, since he is equally unfamiliar with a lot of English words such as pithy, glib, and astute), and after learning the correct pronunciation, goes on to ask what the heck it is. The young lady in question didn't seem to be entirely clear about the deeper meanings of the occasion, only that it's a big fancy birthday party for when you turn 15.

With some interjections from our boss, Richard learns that it's a kind of "becoming a woman" type of celebration. This apparently latches onto his brain, because the next day, he shouts to me from his office a few feet away,

"When did *you* become a woman, ViolaSaint?"

There's an awkward pause for a moment while I try to figure out a diplomatic answer to this question. I finally say that I can't remember the exact day. My officemate, an older lady, lets loose with a loud cackle.

"That's not the type of question you ask people!" And then, a moment later, "When did you become a man?"

And this is where a typed-out narrative of the conversation really is lacking, because you miss the comic timing of the whole thing, but Richard pauses, and we can tell he's thinking.



My officemate and I look at each other.


" 's when I started to shave."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A marvelous piece of writing about a true philosophical puzzle.