Himselfs’ neighbour in Limerick is a sweet, shy and sexist little dear. I often hear her comment on my “bottle blond hair”, on my fashion faux pas of jeans, runners and hoddies and most annoyingly – I hear her comment on my figure calling me “strong”. But I forgive her, “she is old school and does not know any better” is my silent mantra for calming me down when I talk to her.
So this morning, on my way back from another CV drop, she ran out of her kitchen to talk to me. Thankfully I was wearing sunglasses (despite the lack of sun) so she couldn’t see my eye roll.
“Come here to me what are ya doing for the rest of the day?” she asked. “Ammmm” she caught me off guard and I knew there was a “favour” coming. “Well,” she said, ” I was thinking you could do me a favour and give me some advice on which paint to use in my TV room.”
Long exhale from me…..”grand”
Her TV room was sparsely decorated yet cluttered with old photos. “Why no new pics?” I casually asked. “The kids all live in other countries…no money to come back here” was her sad response. I smiled on seeing she had a laptop….looked back at her and said “I can help you maintain better contact”
We then had a forty minute discussion whether to choose “antique white,” sandy rose white” or the “egg white.” For a finish I had to confess that they all looked alike to me and we should do “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe” – crisis over. I decided to stay and help her paint while I converted her to the merits of the Internet. I told her about Skype, Facebook, Internet email, Twitter, Blogging and The Cloud, not only did she listen but when we finished painting (some 2 hours later!!!) we set up an email account, emailed her kids, set up a Facebook account and sent friend requests to her grand kids.
As I went to leave, she paused…..looked up from her FaceBook account and asked “why didn’t you like me before?” Shocked at this sweet little grey haired ladys’ question; I spluttered out ” ahhhh cause you call me fat every time you see me.”
“Haa!!” she roared “and there’s you, a mega star with computers and communicating…and ya don’t get me!!
I meant that you are S.T.R.O.N.G up here!” (between each letter she pointed to her head) she continued “in my time we didn’t have choices, we didn’t have school, we didn’t even have God on our sides and now I see strong women like you, speaking your mind in a polite way I’ll warrant but also in a strong way and a fella that would do whatever you asked of him…not cause he’s extra special but cause your are strong enough to to stand up and be heard….I admire ya” when she finished she looked away, back at her screen and said “you painted my room but today you put me back in contact with my family…don’t think you can get stronger than that.
“Ah now, firstly himself is special! And secondly : I’m just a product of your generation, your schooling and wishes of better for us” I offered.
“We are both strong???” she half asked, half stated.
“We sure are….it takes one to know one hun!” I wink, wave and walk away – astonished!
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