Alejandra Aponte

"The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue." –Dorothy Parker

Elementary, my dear Emily (Post)

So I’m back in LA after spending the last two weeks in New York. There was a side trip to Boston, too, to see my bestest friend. She’s in school right now, which meant four nights of restless sleep on industrial-grade college carpeting. On my last day, a Zen-like bolt behind the blue: dorm floor does not good back support make. My muscles wept all the way home on the completely full (!) Greyhound back to Port Authority. (Obviously I realize these are practically archetypal first-world problems leavemealone).

But anyway. So I’m back in LA, and today, due to circumstances beyond my control, I met a bunch of important people involved in the production of a well-known prime-time television drama (which shall remain nameless because I don’t want to get shot for accidentally divulging information I have no right to, you know, divulge.). It turns out that they’re looking for locations for an upcoming episode, and my house is in the running. If selected, it will be the home of an elderly lady who is beaten up by a bad guy. Fun stuff, no?

(You have to understand: I’m totally not jaded about this, regardless of what the above paragraph might lead you to believe. I think it’d be badass if they used my house. No lie.)

So today, a pack of location scouts and the director of the episode came to my house to give it another look-see (they were here on Tuesday). I greeted them at the door and kept an eye on them, as I’d been instructed by my mother. And, as I’ve been taught by my parents (and my lovely late grandmother Helen), I shook their hands. Because, you know, that’s what you do when you meet a complete stranger, especially one who’s about to walk through your house. You shake hands like a grown-up.

Or, you don’t.

With the exception of the first person to walk through the door, every single person looked absolutely shocked when I offered my hand and told them, “Hello, I’m Alejandra, nice to meet you.”

Every. Single. One.

I’m not trying to mock or insult these people. They were perfectly fine individuals. They were very respectful. But they kind of flipped out when I introduced myself. (One looked down at my hand as if it were an ancient artifact he couldn’t recognize and said, “Oh? Oh,” and then offered his own hand.)

Now, I realize that without eyeliner and a few other popular mechanics I look about fifteen years old, but still. Even if they mistook me for a teenager, that doesn’t explain their…whatever it was. Shock. Disbelief. Outright confusion.

And then! One of them actually declined to shake my hand, claiming, “You don’t need to know our names. You’re not going to see us again, or remember us.”

There wasn’t anything snide about the comment, but it was just…weird. I mean, not to get all braggypants here, but as a kid I met the US Ambassador to Argentina once. Only once. Did he remember me later? Probably not. Did we ever speak again? Nope. But we shook hands and exchanged names.

Why? Because that’s what you f*cking do when you meet someone.

And I said, in response to the weird comment: “Oh, well, you know…manners, and all that.”

That is literally what I said.

I don’t even know what that means.

Am I crazy for believing that when you meet someone, you’re supposed to say your name and shake the other person’s hand? Maybe I’m harping too much on the death of (antiquated as they may be) elementary manners. Maybe I’m actually rotting away from the inside out due to lack of sun exposure, and this is my body’s way of telling me to go outside more often. Maybe this is what I get for reading Emily Post’s EtiquetteOr maybe it’s all of the above.

I’m going to go with the rotting away theory, but that’s just me.

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“Elementary, my dear Emily (Post)”