My husband, Mike, and I recently vacationed in Dewey Beach, Delaware, because we’re cheap and the summer season was over. The big winner was our dog, Gordon, who maniacally chased a half-filled water bottle on the beach until we physically removed him for his own safety.
We arrived at our beach cabin in the early afternoon and commenced cocktailing. Two hours later, we were too buzzed to drive and decided to order-in pizza, since the only sustenance I’d brought was either booze, or booze accouterments, like lemons and limes. I can get pretty narrow minded on vacations.
Mike assumed our food had arrived when he heard me squeal. Food often has that effect on me. But it wasn’t food that inspired that particular outburst; it was the delivery man.
He was a Little Person.
I slapped my hand over my mouth, horrified that I had squealed with joy upon spotting a dwarf. I’m afraid four sangrias combined with my love of Game of Throne’s Peter brilliant Dinklage and the hilarious Warwick Davis from Ricky Gervais’ Life’s Too Short series was just too much for my brain to handle. It was like a rock star had arrived with our food.
Logically, I knew he was a person like anyone else. I just had the urge to ask him a stunning number of stupid questions. It wasn’t any different than the way I wanted to ask our delivery guy back home if his life had changed in any way since acquiring his face tattoo, or if the kid at the Dunkin’ Donuts every tweaked one of the donut recipes, just to see if anyone noticed. I’m curious. Unfortunately, expressing even the most innocent curiosity can be rude, if not simply annoying. For instance, I’m annoyed every time someone asks me where I went to college, and when I tell them, they go on to ask me if I know “so and so.” No. I didn’t meet your aunt who went to the same college and who is 10 years older than me. I can only imagine how annoyed a Little Person might become the 100th time someone asks if he or she likes Game of Thrones.
I vowed to be cool.
My husband opened the door for the delivery guy and I launched into the most mundane conversation every constructed by man. If our diminutive visitor had mentioned that he was a Little Person, I probably would have answered, “Seriously? Why I didn’t even notice!” I remained utterly expressionless for the length of his stay. Poor guy must have thought we were the most boring couple on the planet. My face looked as if I’d been injected with 1000 ccs of Botox, but inside, my brain was whirring out of control. For instance, he looked really buff. I wanted to ask him if he worked out, but worried it would come out wrong. (The next day we saw him biking in town – he was, in fact, a workout freak. I mean enthusiast. Shit! See what I mean?)
Finally, I signed for the food and we said our goodbyes.
Once he was gone, I worried I’d slipped.
“I was cool, right?” I asked. “I didn’t say anything stupid, did I?”
“Surprisingly, no,” he assured me.
So, I thought I’d played it pretty cool. Until we got back from vacation and I found an email alert from my credit card.
I’d never gotten an email alert before.
Dear Ms. Vansant:
We are checking to confirm you meant to tip over 40% on this food delivery transaction?
Yep. Cool as a cucumber.
PS:I’d like to apologize to the delivery guy for being so dull – treating someone differently just because you’re worried you’ll say something wrong, is just as bad as saying something wrong accidentally. (I think that’s why I over-tipped, actually) I promise to be myself next time. I usually end up accidentally offending people anyway, I don’t know why he should have been any different.