“Want to get an early dinner?” I ask my husband.

We’ve finished up our errands; returning library books, checking out a couple of new ones, browsing through Marshalls and Homegoods. It’s 4:30 but we’re getting a little hungry and this lady does not feel like cooking. We stop at The Good Pour, a small pub a couple of towns over from ours. We haven’t been here since the pandemic but it always had good food and we’re close by so why not.

As is our wont when it’s just the two of us, we sit at the small bar. Both televisions are turned to sports channels (what else is new? Would it ever hurt to put on Food Network or HGTV?.. but I digress.)

“Hi, my name’s Iris. What can I get you?” asks the perky, young bartender.

Jack watches carefully as she pours his Stella Artois from the tap. He declares it ‘a perfect pour’, the highest compliment this former part-time bartender can pay. I sip on my glass of Cabernet and study the menu. But I cannot get comfortable.

“What are you thinking of?”


I can barely hear my husband talking. I can barely hear myself thinking. THE MUSIC IS SO LOUD. I am left in a dilemma. Should I?… Should I?

“Do you think I should ask her to turn the music down a little?” knowing that Jack will say no and sure enough he shakes his head.

This is the difference between the two of us. I truly believe that, when appropriate, it is okay to ask for what you want. Jack on the other hand, is much more of a ‘put up with it’ type of guy. If he orders his burger medium rare and it comes well-done, he just asks for it to be boxed up and he takes it home barely touched. While I might have a moment of indecision I will much more readily send back my sandwich if it came on a bun instead of my requested wrap.

I sit and stew a few more minutes. We wait for our food to come out. I glance up at the tvs but I’m so not interested in basketball nor the Super Bowl talk since neither the Patriots or Tom Brady are in it this year. A server comes behind the bar to make a special drink for a customer. She takes a huge plastic jug full of ice and shakes it vigorously. That’s it. I’ve reached my breaking point.

“Can I get you another drink?”

“I’d love another glass of wine Iris.. and would it be possible to turn the music down just a bit?”

And just like that Iris turns around, presses a button and all is right with the world. Now I can enjoy Dua Lipa at just the right volume. I can feel the tension leave my shoulders. When I look over at Jack he is much more visibly relaxed as well. We exchange no words because there is no need to.

We get our check and leave a generous tip. On the way home I wonder: am I a ‘Karen’ because I asked for the music to be lowered? Where is the line drawn between asking for what would make for a better consumer experience vs. overreacting to a situation? It never hurts to ask, right? But when does the asking become too much like demanding? Courtesy and respect are key but still..

I guess we all have our triggers, the I’ll only take so much before we break down and ask for a change. The loud music was mine today. Maybe I could have pushed it and asked that one of the tvs be switched to HGTV but nah.. now THAT would have made me Karen.

Liz Kurkjian-Henry

February 13, 2022

Am I a Karen? was last modified: by

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