I answered a knock at the door. A guy stood outside. He was in his mid-20s, about six feet tall, wearing a light yellow polo shirt, which has an embroidered logo for the local cable company below and left of the collar. Dark khakis, dark shoes, dark curly hair. I only opened the door slightly to keep the dog from going out.
He looked at me. “Is your mom home?”
The door opened wider, revealing more of my apparent childish build. His question reminded me of that thing I used to do on the crowded subways in New York City, when I’d loudly say, in a little girl’s voice, to my friends standing next to me, “Can you help me find my mom?” That would always turn heads. I don’t know if it confused people if they didn’t see the little girl from whence the voice came, or if it irritated them if they figured out I was merely a short adult trying to be funny.
The dog dashed out, wagging his tail and sniffing the cable guy’s feet as menacingly as he could, but only managed to look cute and happy. I didn’t respond to the cable guy’s question, but instead I tried calling the dog back inside. I used a firm voice, and my speaking manner definitely reflected that of an adult human.
The cable guy looked at me again. “Are you older than you look?”
In my mind I had already stashed away this experience as one to write about or to set aside neatly on the pile of countless situations quite similar to this. I smiled, and I told him yes, I am quite a bit older than I look. If he hadn’t asked if my mom was home, I would have left out “quite a bit.”
Then he talked about how he noticed how where I live doesn’t have cable, and would I be interested in subscribing. Then I told him how I can’t speak for the person who actually lives there, but maybe he could drop by another time. If he weren’t embarrassed, he probably would have kept pitching the sale, but he agreed coming back was a good idea. He apologized again about the “age thing,” and I told him it happens all the time.
He picked up his things and I thanked him and wished him a good evening. He walked away.
Mom, I’m still your little girl.