A few times a week I work as a security guard at my university’s museum in a desperate bid to help scrounge together enough money to cover my rent. The work is never that interesting and I’m awful at my job (mostly by choice), but I like the people I work with so I have been at the museum for almost two years now.
In general, I try to avoid interacting with the patrons in the museum as much as possible. Not because this is the professional thing to do – guards should, after all, seem as much like a fly on the wall as possible so as not to distract people from the art – but rather because the presence of visitors makes it necessary for me to at least seem like I am doing my job; all I really want to do is avoid people as much as possible and hide in a corner.
So, imagine my surprise when I was working last September, trying to ignore all the guests around me, when I suddenly hear a voice call out to me.
“Young man, stop! What’s going on with your hair?”
I came to a halt, and turned around to see nothing. Lowering my head, I suddenly noticed a tiny old grandma – she was less than five feet tall if she was an inch.
“My hair?” I reply.
“Yes, your hair! Is that a mohawk?”
“Oh, my hair! Yeah, it is…” I mumbled embarassedly, as I scratched the back of my head.
“Well, where’s your feather!”
“I, uh, I don’t understand.” Who was this old grandma, I thought. Was she really old enough to be making racial cracks about Native Americans, wondering why I didn’t have feathers in my hair? How was I supposed to respond to her?
“You don’t understand? Seriously, kid, you need to get with it,” she snapped. “Everyone has feathers today! Yesterday my granddaughter helped me get one too.” At this the old woman pulled at her hair and suddenly produced a purple feather from behind her ear. It was one of those tie in feathers that was all the rage for a few months before being compeltely forgotten.
How could I not be wearing a feather? They were so cool!
“Yeah, I, uh, I guess I just didn’t think of getting one,” I said.
“Well, you should if you want to look cool,” the grandma replied. “Now, where’s the elevator? I can’t walk up all those stairs anymore.”
I hope to one day be as hip as that woman – rocking out, being cool, and harassing kids even though I might be too old to climb a flight of stairs. Here’s to you, grandma.