In my working career, the only time I have had the pleasure of working with teenagers is when I was one, it seems like a hundred years ago. Until now, that is. The job I have this summer at the campground is offically called Night Shift Supervisor. All that means is that I am the only adult working until closing time.
I have been on this job for a little over a month now. Until Friday night, all was going well. The young people who have been on the job with me have all been very mature and concientious about their work, and very pleasant to be around. But, as we all know, there is always that one person in every bunch who will try our patience, no matter what age they are. So, let me introduce my PITA for this season.
Let’s call her, oh, Kelly, just for the sake of giving her a name. She is seventeen years old. She was hired to run the register at the candy counter, which we have in an attempt to keep the flood of sugar hungry kids away from the front desk during check-in time on Friday nights. This was her first week on the job here.
She is a friendly girl, but she probably told me sixty times how “cute” my accent is. I am a fifty four year old grandma from Georgia, working in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Yes, I do have a very accute southern accent, with a long drawl, which I can not help because I spent fifty years living in the south. But I do not like to be singled out for the way I sound. I find it rather embarassing when people point it out. And it could have possibly been the way she said what she said that offended me. And, it might possibly be because of the fact that this is the first time in my life that I have been north of the Mason-Dixon line, and in a place where the Union Army won a major battle in the Civil War. I kind of stand out here ANYWAY. It’s not that I am trying to hide the fact that I am from the south, but I am not so sure I want it pointed out to everyone.
The first time Kelly made a comment about my accent, I very graciously thanked her, and told her I liked HER accent, too. The second time, I told her, “Oh, honey, I don’t have an accent–YOU do.” Which usually works with other people. Usually, other people get it when I say that, but this girl kept up with the remarks about my accent all night long. Every time I had a customer at the front desk and had to speak to them in the course of the transaction, she would say something about the way I sound when I talk. It was very distracting, because I had to go through all the baloney about the southern thing with every person who came in that night. After a while, I just ignored her, but it did not stop her from doing it.
I am trying to think of a nice and proper response to give this young lady next week when she comes to work and starts this up again. I personally think it is rude to point out peoples differences, even if it is such an obvious one such as my dripping sugar accent, maybe especially if it is. I have tried to NOT sound the way I sound, but why should I have to? And, if I were Kelly, and my Night Shift Supervisor had asked me very kindly several times to knock it off, I would have.