Wednesday, February 18, 2015

In Memory of Mrs. N

It was bound to happen, one of my little old lady clients passed.

From the day I started walking her dog, I knew Mrs. N meant business. She wanted her dog walked precisely at 4 pm, not 3:30, not 4:30. 4 pm! She was home but physically unable to walk her dog so there was no way to fudge it. When I was a half hour late due to a flat tire, she repeatedly called my phone and hung up until I answered and explained myself. From then on I was rarely late. If I was a little behind, she would ask "Is this your new thing? Running 5 minutes late? Is our time 4:05 now?"

It wasn't just me, Mrs. N didn't waste a single breath on niceties or anything that got in the way of her goals with anyone. She proudly told me about how she used to work for Planned Parenthood, before that was a socially acceptable thing to do. Moreover, a pregnant woman with an abusive partner asked Mrs. N how to get an abortion. Back in the day, she wasn't allowed to share that information even at Planned Parenthood. What did she do? "I told her exactly where to get an abortion," Mrs. N recalled, "and I got CANNED!" You go girl.

When I dreaded my hair, she was absolutely beside herself saying "Well it isn't very becoming, is it?" In the beginning stages, dreads never look good, something that I had a hard time conveying to her as she retorted, "Then why do it? I don't understand. Is it religious or something? You mean it will become more becoming?" As the dreads (and my relationship with Mrs. N) matured, one day she announced, "I've changed my mind. I think your hair is kind of cute." Coming from Mrs. N, that meant something!

I'm not going to miss her 15 minute voicemails, semi-constructive criticisms, and insistence on punctuality. However, I'd like to take a bit of her spirit with me, confidently speaking my mind even if it pisses people off. Rest in peace, Mrs. N.

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