Flying Delta 4135. With Sir & Siri.

This is Sir & Siri-inspired. No, not Apple’s Siri. But Siri Hustvedt from Memories of the Future (or in this case, my Memories of the Past): “While I was in the throes of living it was impossible for me to know whether a moment would be significant or whether it would vanish into oblivion along with so much else.

Three Saturdays ago. I’m on another gadget run to BestBuy. I was 25 feet from the door. A middle aged, heavy set man, say ~40, with hoodie and red sneakers, sees me approaching. He waits, and opens the door for me. I thank him, and he replies with an “Anytime Sir…  Sir?  Sir? Sir? Feel the same, as I did 35 years ago. Less hair. Gray. Paunch. Must be tired looking. Is it that obvious? Sir? I need doors opened for me?  I look back, he’s gone, I’m dig for my car keys: I’m going to remember this.

Marquette Michigan. Last week Monday. On a run to bank branch, one of the many errands to change titling on checks, accounts, autos et al. Today we’re here. Tomorrow, we’re gone. But traces of us remain. And we get busy, Erasing. Need a signature guarantee (not a notary, a guarantee with stamp) to change account names. “Sorry Sir. We don’t offer a signature guarantee service. Let me call a few places to see if they can help you.” He’s going to call Competitors?!?! See if that ever, EVER, happens in NY.

Marquette Michigan. Last week Tuesday. Social Security Office.  We check web site which reports 8:30 – 10 am as peak periods for long lines and long wait times. 2:30 pm as a low point. Government reporting wait times on their cues on the Web?! We take a ticket and immediately get called to the window. Susan tears up explaining purpose of visit (“Father passed away, here to help Mom…”), I step in front, brush her back and point her to the chair. Young man reaches for the death certificate, the glossy single pager slides from my finger tips, a woefully insufficient representation of a full and worthy Life.  “Sir, I’m so sorry for your loss. There will be no interruption of benefits. There is nothing else your Mother-in-Law has to do. This will all be taken care of and her benefits will continue uninterrupted.” This, a U.S. Government Social Security Office. Soaring like the Eagle, he’s cleared 1,000 feet over zero level expectations. For some reason, I want to high-five him, but I pull up. What is wrong with you?  I pass his Bic pen back to him. “Like your pen. Don’t let me walk out with it.”  He chuckles: “Thank you Sir.”

Last week Friday. I’m boarding a regional aircraft at Detroit International on the final leg back to NY. I brush my iPhone boarding pass by the scanner. The attendant offers a toothy Hollywood smile. “Thank you Mr. Kanigan. Sir, we appreciate your flying on Delta.”

Sir.

As I type these words, I can hear my footsteps, my breath, the wheels on my carry-on rolling behind me on down the jet bridge. I see the morning light refracting through the canopy covering the walkway. Time and mind, swirling backward and forward. This same body, connected to this same Head, pushing out more random memories, and thoughts.

And then Siri back again: “And listen to me closely: In hexed repetition, time loses its direction. It springs backward and forward, bounces up and down. It floats to the top and sinks to the bottom, and it turns on its wheel. The melody echoes and reverberates and reaches a crescendo, and that is when it is truly hard to bear.” 

Yes Siri.

Yes Sir.


Notes:

Comments

  1. Face it, DK. You’re one of “us” now … Sir.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. In the South, you start getting called “sir” at age 30. You get used to it after a while, but of course, I’m way past 30.
    Also, this week was the first time I ever had to get a signature verification stamp (Medallion). What a hassle.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, you had me at every word, Sir. Sorry. I laughed at you, at myself. When someone dares to call me “Ma’am” I stare them down. MA’AM??? I am no ma’am I am not. But then a clerk calls me “Miss,” as in “Miss, MISS! You left your purse here,” and I glow all over (even though I’m obviously a blonde airhead, leaving her purse in her cart – haha). The philosophy helps, oh yes it does. Signing off, Ms. Roughwighting. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It’s nice to see that there are still some young folks with manners. My dad taught me to call all gentlemen, Sir. He would often call women of any age, young lady, and they would be delighted. He was a cowboy gent.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Great post, Sir David. That has a nice ring to it actually, kind of an acknowledgment that you have entered knighthood, kinda sorta. I have noticed being called Sir a lot more the last couple of years as well, and since I am certainly no knight by any stretch of the imagination I have resigned myself to the fact that it must be due to my age. Don’t feel like I look too much older, but I suppose when looking from the perspective of the other person, I do. As a matter of fact, I am reaching a milestone in June, and I believe I’ll give myself a pay raise starting in July to celebrate. Or rather, the Canadian government will when they start sending my OAS cheque … haha … that’s when you know you are officially old … when you are collecting your Canada pension AND your old age security! I think YOU’VE still got some time to spare before you get there, so enjoy it while you can and accept the Sir as a form of knighthood. Kinda sorta. Hope your weekend has been as restful as you were hoping for.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Poignant and bittersweet, good sir…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The way I see it, the alternative is less appealing. Some gum-snapping young upstart saying “Yo, s’up? You good?” I’d take the Sir over that, no? Mind you, I have to admit the “Ma’am” ain’t quite so flattering. In French, it’s when you go from “tu” to “vous”… Again, some 16-year old saying “tu” to me wants me to smack her and say, “where are your manners?”

    I love these posts of yours and I love how you take a snippet of something you read and go with that. You do it so well.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m not sure exactly which age bracket you fit in. But now I know how to address you, Sir!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. sir Paul McCartney, good company to be in. all of those final acts are so powerful and deep. the last gestures of kindness that we do for those we love.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Anonymous says:

    Last Thursday, my hubby had to go to the Social Security office with me in tow…I wasn’t feeling well – still don’t He signs in and 1 hour and 45 min. they call him to the window. The clerk was sarcastic, talked with him and said go do this online or make an appointment…I said what is the LOCAL # for appointments, thankfully he gave it to us…I had of course suggested to hubby to look through some paper work for another time when when given the local #…he said I am sorry to have subjected you to such a wait…we were amazed that with standing room only they had two windows only opened that day!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Christie says:

    hmm. well if your were a women you might have felt happy if this had happened to you…about three years ago on a nice day I was waiting outside the car at the mall…two young men from the country (cowboy hats & a pickup) tossing a football…there is a convo between us and then one says to the other after they went back to tossing the ball I think Christie is pregnant (I myself can see it a small baby type bump) and then I thought hmm… I take that as a compliment…they though I was young enough to be pregnant!!! and I love the time my gastro doctor first meet me she was looking at my chart and said oh your age is wrong, I said oh, yes it is wrong it should say…she said No that can’t be right either…you Can’t be My Age I said I am she said well you look to be in your early 40’s -boy did that make my day :)…now occasionally when out in public I do get called Ma’am…at the gym last year some man chuckled as I was moving to the my own beat when a song that happened to matched my beat started to blast he said you go girl with a big smile…I thought girl, yes I’ve heard that before…this year life has changed and I now know I look older…Ma’am and Sir an Honored distinction! My hubby said that once a man is called Sir he should go to his closet and break out the cardigan sweater and a pipe. hmm…he was wearing cardigan sweaters when he was in his 20’s -must be the mid-west life…

    Liked by 2 people

  12. … to Sir, with love.

    God Bless Midwestern politeness 🙂

    MJ

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I was raised to call people I don’t know ma’am or sir. Years associated with the military engrained the practice even further. It comes out now unbidden, as reflexive as ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ I mean it as a sign of respect, regardless of age, but have found that some people get really p.o’d when addressed in this way. I try to watch myself more carefully these days, but…. I’m with MJ….take it in the spirit in which it was intended. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  14. My condolences to you and Susan; it’s amazing what a difference kindness, like that shown by the Social Security employee, can make in difficult situations.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Will read the comments later (and probably chuckle a few times!). Just two things:
    You ARE a SIR, yessir…. This has got nothing to do with your age but with your noble status, the way you carry yourself, the air of ‘being a person of knowledge and a good feeling about oneself’ AND it’s always nice when people have manners.
    Here, in France, there is an unspoken (but strictly observed) law of How to talk to people. You NEVER EVER enter a shop, any place at all without saying Bonjour and adding Madame/Monsieur… If you dare, you will be (rightly) ignored, totally….
    MY shock of getting into the ‘wrong’ group was when people started to offer me their place on a train/tramway…. I – for years nearly – always looked around to see to whom the seat was offered. I just didn’t see myself ‘worthy’ of this little kindness….. I even picked up, only last Thursday, the fallen down kiwis for a woman clearly younger than me. Instead of thanking me, she said ‘oh merde!’ and I told her cheerfully: Non Madame, c’est ‘Merci beaucoup’…. She killed me with an evil look – I laughed and was glad that I didn’t have to talk to her on a regular basis.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Captivating reading, Sir. So sorry for Susan and your loss. I’ve gone through many “now here”- “now gone” moments in the last two years and that forces one to reflect on time. Loved the last Siri quote in particular. So relatable.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Well, perhaps they used to call you young man before they called you sir. My wake up call was when they stop calling me miss and started calling me ma’am. Here on the island, they just call me Miss Bela and I smile from ear to ear. You would think I had migrated to the south. 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  18. What a bounty of lovely, funny and snarky comments. This is, for me, a special treat when I’m unable to come hither at ‘your earliest convenience’. A beautiful post and brill readers.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. “Sometimes it is easier to see clearly into the liar than into the man who tells the truth. Truth, like light, blinds.
    Falsehood, on the contrary, is a beautiful twilight that enhances every object.”

    – Albert Camus, from “The Fall” (1957), translated by Justin O’Brien

    Like

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