Garden by the seashore mixed media collage art by Lillian Connelly.

Get Off That Electronic Device, Young Lady!

The other day when I was at the VA clinic waiting for Jim to have his hand examined (six days later the x-rays showed it was not broken) I was sitting in the waiting room with several people. Most of them were at least 30 years older than me. I made some small talk with the lady sitting next to me. As the people picked up their magazines and started reading I took out my cell phone and started working.

I was supposed to be home writing, painting, or keeping up with my social media accounts, but I wasn’t. I was sitting in a health clinic. My work time was ticking by. I am on a tight schedule because I am also a stay-at-home-mom. If things don’t get done then I just add them to the to-do list for tomorrow. My daily lists are growing…to miles long. I was sitting there feeling grateful for the Internet and cell phones. I mean, I can get some of my work done anywhere. It’s amazing, right?

Coneflowers In Alcohol Ink
Pink Coneflowers Day 14 of #30in30 paintings. Alcohol inks on Yupo paper, 9×12.

As I got to work I heard a male voice growl, “Get off that electronic device, Young Lady. That thing is going to boggle your mind.” I looked up to see a man standing with his walker looking straight at me. He’d just come out of an exam room. I smiled at him. He was funny. Plus, I pretty much adore anyone that refers to me as a “young lady” so there was that. Then I went back to what I was working on.

After a minute or so I heard some snickering. I looked up and there was the man again making some weird hand gestures at me and smiling at the woman next to me. She was actually leaning into my lap to look at my phone screen. It was bizarre. I smiled again and turned away from the woman next to me a little and went back to working. I figured they weren’t hurting me and they were laughing…whatever. I was stuck there and I just wanted to get some work done. That’s when the man said, “Don’t worry. I’m just making fun of you.”

I replied, “That’s OK. Make fun of me all you want to. I have an online business and I am working on it here since I can’t work on it at home right now.”

The man then walked toward the door, but turned back and in a mocking tone of voice said, “Oh, you’re one of those online entrpreneurs trying to get rich quick, huh?’ He obviously felt a lot of disdain for “my kind” and instead of getting mad or feeling ashamed I laughed. I told him, “No, I am not trying to get rich quick. I wish it were that easy. I have to work really hard to make this work.” Then the man rolled his eyes at me and walked out the door.

Garden by the seashore mixed media collage art by Lillian Connelly.
Day 15 of #30in30 paintings. “Garden by the Seashore” mixed media on canvas, 8×10.

I sat their for a moment. It was a weird experience. I just got mocked by senior citizens. They thought I was a joke or lazy or both. Then a feeling crept over me. I got a big smile on my face. I was proud of the way I handled that interaction. Just a few years ago I would have made a bunch of excuses about my choices. I’d be defending why I was a stay-at-home-mom or trying to explain why I was pursuing my dream of becoming an artist. I’d watch people scoff at my ambitions and I’d feel less than. I’d feel like I was making the wrong choice. I should have a traditional job. I should put my daughter in daycare. I should not be working at all and devoting every moment to my daughter. I should get off the Internet because it’s not the “real” world. I should be this…I should be that…I shouldn’t be me.

This time I didn’t have any of those thoughts or feelings. This time I felt completely confident and actually found the entire interaction humorous. I am an online entrepreneur and I am proud of what I have accomplished.

That is a good feeling and I don’t really care if people are laughing at me for it.


7 thoughts on “Get Off That Electronic Device, Young Lady!”

  1. Good for you Lillian, nice to see someone not trying to justify their choices….here in the UK at least where I live, I find it is so difficult to explain to people that I don’t want to be stuck in an office hunched over a screen all day, been there done that. I know that trying to earn money the way I am trying, Arts & Crafts, is difficult but if I don’t try I will never know…..I received your lovely postcard today 🙂 thank you, it made my day!! I am following your 30 days of painting in September and enjoy seeing what you come up with……that’s a pressure I don’t think I could handle just yet 🙂

    1. I am not doing well this challenge. Having my family get sick has really put a kink into things!

      I am tired of justifying my choices. I don’t think people really care anyway. Maybe it just makes them feel better to put your choicecs down because they didn’t have enough courage to follow their own dreams! That isn’t our fault, right?

    1. He caught me at the right moment I guess because saying something mean or crying is my usual go-to move. Maybe my hormones were aligned with the moon and the tides or some other magic I don’t quite understand! I’m taking full credit for my measured response anyway since it’s such a rare occurrence. This is one for my personal history book! 😉

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