One day this weekend, Grandma was sitting around reminiscing with me. She started to tell me a story about when I used to travel with her and my Grandfather. I thought it would be quaint and cheerful, as are many of her stories. I should have guessed, being that it was about me, it would not be either.
My Grandfather was a travelling minister. Some summers when I was young, I was able to travel with him and my grandmother. I would sit in the front seat of their Oldsmobile (that is all my grandfather ever drove to my recollection) squashed between them both and entertaining them with stories and bizarre comments.
One summer, I was about 10 years old and Grandma sat too close to me. I asked her to move over immediately. When she asked why, I replied "Because people will think I'm a homo."
At the end of the story, Grandma leaned back and smiled wistfully. She said she remembered being surprised that I knew what the word meant at my age. I was shocked. I sat there with my mouth wide open and said, "That's horrible! Why I would I say that?"
"Well," she said to soothe me, "I guess it was because you didn't want anyone to think you were a homo, dear."
I had no reply for that. I'm not sure which part of the ordeal was worse - that my 10 year old self said homo in a derogatory way, that I said homo in front of my grandmother or that my 87 year old grandmother had just used the word at least 5 times in a row like it was a quite ordinary part of her everyday conversation.