Dealing with Dallas
miss saunders is hardly a plain ol' girl from plano
Although you probably won't find much on them in the medical books, growing pains are a very real and probably unavoidable affliction -- and not just of the very young. Pamela Saunders could tell you about a few she has experienced recently. Right out of high school, for instance, she found herself hip-deep in Dallas night life, serving drinks in a bar-restaurant. When she talks about that period, there is fatigue in her voice. "I think I grew up too fast when I worked in the bar, because I was around older people. I got involved with them; they were my best friends, you know. I knew their drinks and what they wanted to eat." Pam had come in from Plano. "It's next to Richardson," she explains and, when pressed, offers, "That's about 15 minutes away from Dallas. That's where I grew up from the eighth grade on." Girls in Texas who aren't married five minutes after high school graduation are called spinsters. Pam somehow couldn't round up a hubby but did manage a tentative arrangement. Luckily, that's all she wants right now. "I love men to death," she declares. "But, you know, they aggravate me. I let men get to me, and I've got a nervous stomach. I don't think I want to get married. I guess working in a bar ruined me -- you know, watching the way some of these married men act." Pam medicates her nervous stomach with a steady diet of beer and junk food. She knows it's wrong and she pays for it, but, as she says, "You do it because you crave it. You wake up going, 'Ummmmm, burrito and hot sauce!' And I'll go off to Taco Bueno and pig out. And then I'll be home moaning, 'Ohhhhhhhhh.' " Pam's more outgoing than she used to be. At school in Plano, she recalls, "I'd rather get a zero than give an oral report. Now I think that is so stupid, but then I was so clammed up that I couldn't do it." Meeting people and having them like her changed Pam's outlook on life. Now she dreams of having her own bar-restaurant. She has quit serving drinks and works occasionally as a pizza-maker; on weekends, she deals blackjack at charity functions. Pam says she's good at it. "I like to challenge guys. I'm a better backgammon player than most of them. I suppose they think girls, especially blondes, are stupid. Well, you know," she says, laughing, "I'm not a true blonde." Since she'd drifted into a soul-baring mood, Pam decided to confess all. "Yeah, well, I am a klutz. I fall down stairs, spill things. I have to watch myself out on a date." Might not klutziness, like her shyness, go away? Pam offered her own theory, then rejected it. "I think it's nerves, too. When I'm nervous, I start knocking things over. No, I'm a klutz; a slob, too, probably."
Photography by Kerry Morris