I had that moment yesterday at the vending machine near my office.
I had only brought enough change to buy a Diet Pepsi — the campus has a contract with Pepsi, otherwise I would have gotten a Diet Coke — but the machine was out. I tried to get my change back, but it didn’t work. So I stood there, annoyed that I’d have to choose between a bottle of water or Hawaiian Punch, neither of which had the caffeine I needed.
Two male students in their 20s were standing near the vending machines. One had heard me exhale in irritation and asked what happened. So I told him. Then came “the moment.”
Fifteen years ago he might have come over, offered to help in some way, maybe sacrificed his last $1.40 to get me the Diet Pepsi I so desperately wanted.
Instead, he said, “Ho, that sucks, aunty.”
I have officially lost it. Whatever “it” was.
It’s not the first time I’ve been called aunty. All of my friends’ kids call me that. And, I’ll be honest, I call a lot of people that, too, men included. It’s a way for me to get over the fact that I’m no longer “sister,” as a memorable column by Lee Cataluna once lamented. I’m aunty now. I need to accept it.
Still, it was hard to hear yesterday. Though I think if he had ponied up two bucks, I would have quickly forgiven him.