I picked up Miss Cathy the other day from the beauty salon where I’d dropped her off earlier to get her ‘do did’. She started nattering on the minute the back door was opened for her (as usual) and was in the middle of a story before she had her seatbelt on.
She was telling me that the beautician who curled and styled her hair was giggling and laughing at practically everything she said and I could hear that it bothered her.
It didn’t bother her that not long after sitting in the chair the young woman asked if she could call her, ‘Mom’.
For some reason Miss Cathy seems to attract a lot of ‘children’. She’s like the Pied Piper with a cane, beguiling the young and the not so young (she actually had a neighbor-who is past sixty-ask if he could call her ‘mom’).
Somehow, the ‘mom’ moniker applied even before she became a little old, round, affectionate person whose large bosom would cradle many a head.
And when I say ‘mom’, I’m not talking about the way her neurologist addresses her during their meetings, he’s from another part of the world and I’m sure it’s used as a sign of respect like “sir’ or ‘madam’ (but, frankly I think it’s a sign of laziness and a way to avoid knowing his patient’s name….but I digress).
Even when I was young (which meant Miss Cathy’s bosom was that much younger) I can remember my friends calling her “Mom” or “Miss Cathy” (the affectionate nickname she became known by that stuck), which pretty much means the same thing (without taking anything away for the person’s birth parent).
But, back to the here and now…..
I looked at her face, framed by soft waves of salt and pepper hair, in the rear view mirror as I was driving, listening to her and I could see that she was perplexed by her new daughter’s laughter, and that she was wondering whether or not she was being laughed at.
She said she didn’t think she was being funny.
I didn’t need to know the specifics, not that that stopped her from telling me every-word-that-was-spoken (she’s not only ‘Miss’ Cathy, she’s a ‘Chatty’ Cathy, too). I knew from experience what had happened.
I told her it’s the way that she talks openly, honestly and colorfully about things that people find funny, that Miss Cathy’s candor is refreshing to most people.
I can see that they are charmed by her insights and surprised by the occasional vulgarity that is quite frankly-funny (her filter, which at best was minimal, is pretty much gone now after her diagnosis).
I told her that it’s her delivery about everyday observations and her opinions of the subject matter, not the content that people find amusing.
In another life (with her timing and flair for the dramatic) she would have been a damn good actress.
I told her that she should take the laugher as a compliment, that not everybody is funny, and that there’s a difference between being laughed with (which in my opinion is a sign of intelligence) and being laughed at which we all know (unfortunately) is a sign of the opposite.
She thought about I was said, seemed satisfied with the analysis and as she futzed with her hair (re-styling the styling) then replied, “Oh, I never thought about it like that, I like that much better. That’s good because with all that laughing I was about to get ticked off!”