Dealing with database vendors is the most irritating part of my job. A really awful patron can reduce me to a trembling wreck, but that sort of thing is pleasantly infrequent. Communicating with people trying to sell me stuff happens all the time.
A salesperson emailed me the other week and managed to lose herself a sale with one itty-bitty word.
“Dear Mrs. Zellers,” she wrote.
What’s wrong with this picture?
A colon! In a business letter, one should end the salutation with a colon!
Er. The comma was fine, actually. Email’s not all that formal. Try again.
She called me Mrs.
I am not married. I expect people to call me Ms.
If I ever get married, I will expect people to call me Ms.
I will accept “Madam” because it’s foreign and it sounds cool, and I would be tickled pink if anyone ever addressed me as “Mistress,” but “Ms.” will always be the safe choice. Mrs. will never be a safe choice.
It’s not that this database vendor guessed wrong. It’s that she guessed at all. Why should my marital status be relevant? Single, married, divorced, widowed, or whatever—none of it affects my ability to choose a database. And we sure as hell don’t address men as “Dear Sir-I-assume-you’re-married Smith," so why make the same assumption with women?
My friend Whitney pointed out something creepy to me. First look at this word:
And then look at this word:
And now add an apostrophe:
ARRGH! Mister’s! Owned by the Mister!
Persepolis at work has assured me that it’s merely a coincidence, that “Mrs.” is just a contraction of “Mistress,” but still. Unsettling.
Should a woman ask that I call her Mrs., I of course will. Should a woman ask me to call her Princess Anastasia, I’ll do that, too. I defer to whatever people request. But otherwise, you won’t catch me using Mrs.
Now I shall discuss happy things, including gentle woodland creatures, fearsome woodland creatures, and evil-incarnate-doom-n-death creatures.
Let’s start with that last. I saw this bumpersticker on the way home from work yesterday.
I already have four bumperstickers sitting in my house, just waiting for their chance to make it big on the rear of my car. It wouldn’t be fair to them if another, newer bumpersticker jumped the queue. They’ve been patiently waiting their turn for a long time, hoping for a vacancy on my car. But oh it is tempting. Cthulhu!
When I got home I wanted a glass of wine.
Here’s the thing about wine. It’s sold in bottles. You can open the bottle, but you can’t really close it back up. Only thing I know to do with it is to drink it in one day.
This is why I don’t often have wine around the house, because a bottle-a-day habit is not an avenue I need to explore. To say nothing of the social and personal cost of becoming an alcoholic, it’s just not a good idea because it would get really pricey really fast. I only buy the cheap stuff, but still. My grocery bill would double.
But occasionally I splurge. So last night I walked over to the Farm Fresh and got a six dollar bottle of merlot. I got the bottle for two reasons: There was nothing cheaper, and it had a picture of some very pretty flowers on the label.
Everyone please note how very green I was being: Not only did I walk, rather than drive, to the grocery store, I then carried the wine away in my reusable cloth bag. No plastic here!
As I was walking back home, a car slowed down. The people inside then proceeded to do a very, very stupid thing.
They asked me for directions.
This is like asking Mr. T. which kind of tampon to buy. He’s a great person in many respects, but you shouldn’t turn to him for advice about menstrual products. Nor should you turn to me for directions.
I can still manage to get lost driving from work to home, and they’re only two miles apart. Mmmkay? Am I making this clear?
Miraculously, I knew how to direct the couple in the car to their destination, though I wish I didn’t. They asked how to get to the Golden Corral. I pass it every time I go to yoga, so it was easy enough to tell them what to do. But why did they have to ask after the Golden Corral, of all places? C’mon, folks, you’re on vacation, you’re in Colonial Williamsburg, you’re in a place that’s teeming with history and culture, and you want to chow down on the same crappy potato salad you can get back home?
Still though, I count it as a victory that I could direct them. I’m really quite certain they didn’t wind up in Canada. Really. Well—very nearly certain. Almost positive. I’m definitely pretty confident about it. As such. More or less.
So then I walked a little further and I saw a spider. Mr. or Ms. Spider was a big critter, sitting all sassy in a spiderweb off the sidewalk a little ways.
“Hello, Spider,” I said. I felt quite the Nature Girl, albeit from a comfortable distance away. No fanged venomous leaping Cthulhu spider’s gonna get me, no way.
Then I looked a little further. Seven deer were grazing.
Suddenly I was Supreme Queen Nature Girl of the Universe. Deer! Right there! In front of me! Doing deer things! In Wilhelmsplatz!
That’s the weird part. Since when do all of the other reindeer join in all their reindeer games in the middle of the damn city? It’s not like we’re Hong Kong or nothin,’ but we’re definitely a city. We’re not rural. We have busses and congested traffic and things.
And then today I saw a bunny rabbit. I suppose the logical next step is to get my own show on Animal Planet. I wonder if we can get live footage of Cthulhu?