I pride myself in being a nice, polite person. That’s not to say I don’t have a snide side. I do…inherited from my dear, sweet, dead mother.
Like a boxer who needs to guard his fists, I keep my sass in check, but every once in a while it escapes from the barn.
It was 6ish on Saturday…my favorite time to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, especially in these last days of summer.
I went to see the John Singer Sargent exhibition for the second time, its beauty beckoning me back.
I felt no pain, having just enjoyed an ice cold vodka on the rocks at a little outdoor bistro dressed in a skirt and silky blouse like I hadn’t a care in the world. And if you hone the skill of living in the moment, it rings true. It was cool with no humidity purposely not donning undies to feel the breeze all the way up my legs…freshly polished toes preening in vintage Ferragamo sandals…a cardigan tossed over my arm. All was well, at least fashion wise…UNTIL…
I tooled into the Met.
There was a short admission line that suddenly wasn’t moving. I wait, and wait and wait and wait, while the cashier carries on a conversation with a very needy Swedish couple.
“What the fook,” I hear behind me. I turn to see a guy and his girl with streaked yellow hair and identical nose rings beginning to lose their patience, triggering mine.
I make a gesture to the robust cashier, all of 20, to maybe move it along, who rises from her chair and says, “Can’t you see I’m talking?”
“Yes, and you’re talking much too much. You’re the the money-taker honey, not Diana Vreeland.”
And as snotty as that may sound, it’s true. They have an information desk where people are trained to answer all inquiries.
“SO TAKE THE FUCKING MONEY ALREADY.”
She ignored me and the fook twins, who smartly went to the line across the way, inspiring me to follow.
When it’s my turn another girl starts talking to the other girl instead of taking care of me, and that was it…my mother took over.
“Hey, I have been waiting much too long to go see an exhibit for ten lousy minutes. Your behavior is unacceptable.”
“You will just have to cool your heels Ma’am,” said the other girl while she stared me down a very large nose or schnoz, as my friend Ed would say. Talk about losing your buzz.
Maybe it was the ma’am that lit my fuse, or just the arrogance of attitude, but I said in my best Courtney Love….“FUCK YOU.”
She gave me a ticket.
As I’m about to walk up the grand staircase I’m stopped by a guard. “Madam, someone wishes to speak to you.”
I turn and there’s this rather stiff man (in all the wrong places to steal a line from Camille) in a crisp navy suit with authority dripping from every seam.
“Yes?” I say, the hair on the back of my neck rising in defense.
“Was there a problem just now with two of my staff?”
“Problem? I don’t think so. Though I was waiting in line while they were having a rather lengthy conversation, so I did ask to please hurry it up.”
“Did you use exceptional language?”
“Excuse me? I am very well-spoken so I’m sure whatever I said was exceptional.”
“What I’m asking is, did you say something questionable in the vulgarity department?”
I loved his determination to be verbally correct. Since I’m also drenched in character and all that’s Connecticut, I decided to be upstanding as well…by lying.
“I beg your pardon? Look at me…do I appear to be a woman who would speak rudely to anyone?”
Thank God I was dressed. That line doesn’t work in shorts and a tank top.
He looked uncomfortable, so I pulled out the ace up my sleeve gently touching his forearm that I know sent tingles down his button-down. If he ever knew I wasn’t wearing underwear he might have had a stroke. Believe me, the last time this guy got laid was after midnight by an 800 number named Honey Loo.
“I’m sorry, ” he said. “but they were both just so insistent.”
“Young girls can be very dramatic.”
“Oh yes I know.”
“So, may I go see Mr. Sargent now?”
“Yes, yes…of course, enjoy yourself. I am so sorry to have detained you.”
When I went by the original girl in the ticket booth, I gave her a huge smile before mouthing…
FUCK YOU, as my mother and I headed up to see John.
I yam who I yam…as Popeye would say. Sargent’s famous Madam X