Putting Down Roots


yes, ma’am
January 21, 2011, 10:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

When I moved to Florida, one of the first things I noticed (besides the tropical climate, the preponderance of lizards, and the bewildering fact that everyone claimed that 85 degrees was “nice and cool”) was how regularly folks said “ma’am” and “sir.”

The first day I was volunteering out at Turkey Hill Farm, I found myself planting baby lettuce plants with Matt, an intern who is maybe a couple of years older than me. If I asked him something (“can I have that pitchfork?” or “is it almost time for lunch?” or “don’t geese make funny noises?”) his answer would be, “yes, ma’am” (except in the case of lunch. Lunch there is always delicious, but always a couple hours later than I wish it were). I thought it was hopelessly formal.

The thing is, almost everyone does it. I find it very strange and unnatural.

Until today, when Nathan asked me to work on leveling out a trench for cinderblocks, and I responded to his request with a simple and automatic, “yes, sir.” It wasn’t a military “yes, SIR,” and it wasn’t mocking or indignant or mean. It just came out. Turns out, phrases like that have been coming out of my mouth for the last week or two. It’s starting to stick.

Like it or not, I think the South’s making a lady out of me.

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