Earlier this week, driving back from one Carolina to the other, I stopped for lunch at a Bob Evans. In the car, I had been enjoying one kind of cultural immersion: Nonstop 80’s music on XM Radio. (Bananarama, anyone?) Inside the restaurant, an entirely different cultural experience awaited.
“Have a seat, Baby Girl,” the waitress was saying – I eventually understood – to me. “I’ll be with you in a minute.”
I’m not a “Baby Girl.” Even when I was a baby girl, I wasn’t a “Baby Girl” – sports-loving, Daddy-shadowing, car-noticing tomboy that I was. Having no one to share a chuckle with there in the restaurant, I did what we’re meant to do in such moments: I posted it on Facebook – and many of you “LOL”ed with me throughout the afternoon.
But I didn’t correct the server – didn’t ask her what she meant by the salutation; didn’t take issue with her characterization and list off in bullet points all the reasons it didn’t apply to me. Because it wasn’t about me. I was in rural South Carolina, about to be served a biscuit and grits, and “Baby Girl” was as much a part of the tapestry of the setting as the sweet tea and pecan pie. It would stay to greet the next customer, while I would eventually get up and leave.
Maybe the next time a situation catches me off-guard and I begin to overanalyze how it is that someone’s assessment is so far afield from who I know myself to be, I’ll whisper to myself, “Baby Girl,” and consider that maybe, just maybe, it’s not about me.