Saturday, September 8, 2012

This Old.....Woman

After being SURE it wouldn’t happen this soon (and back in high school, swearing it would NEVER happen), it happened.

I got old this summer.

It wasn’t an instant, overnight transformation.  It’s not like I left the house a young whippersnapper and returned a blue-haired, 17-mile-an-hour driving grandmother, who fully stops at every intersection, even when there is no stop sign in sight, causing the minivan behind her to bump into her.  (Or so I’ve heard can happen to moms in minivans behind old ladies in sedans.)  Nor was it as instant as the time in June when I thought I became suddenly and completely incontinent while at my son’s baseball game, only to discover that instead of wetting myself, I sweated myself.  (Yes, I’ve sweat violently before like when I did the 3-day walk.  I just didn’t think this level of perspiration was possible while just SITTING at a suburban park.)

Getting old slowly happened over the summer, to the point that here at the start of this school year, it hit me: HOLY CRAP! I’m old!  I started the summer far younger, I am sure.  (Someone please tell me I haven’t been this old for YEARS and just now figured it out!)  I noticed a hint of old as I saw young girls walking on the Prairie Path in flip-flops and I wondered how their feet didn’t hurt.  A muted essence of age wafted over my impatient thoughts, as I wanted to correct the grammar of almost every popular song I heard.  (When did noun/verb agreement go out of style?  And don’t even get me started on rap music and its incomplete words and sentences.)

Specifically, being old hit me when I was at the local bar/bowling alley to hear my son’s band play a gig.  My thoughts scared me.  It started with the red X scrawled onto the top of my hand.  You know, one day – they will confirm that this permanent marker ink gets absorbed into the bloodstream and leads to cancer.  When I walked over to meet up with the group already gathered at the tables, my first thought was: Ugh! We got those tall bar tables and chairs!  At least the chairs have a back.  I then wondered where to safely and hygienically stash my purse when I realized that most other women (ok – “girls”) had smaller, wristlet type purses that they kept on their lap.  Far more convenient, but there’s NO WAY they are truly prepared with that shrunken excuse of a purse.  My gosh! How do they carry gum, floss, Tylenol, money, a hair elastic, pen and paper, lip gloss, coupons, hand sanitizer, a Sharpie and tissue in that thing?

There were a few bands playing at the bar, and I’m proud relieved to report that I didn’t use earplugs.  But my granny thoughts were rapid firing! I can’t understand a word they’re saying! (Believe me, I was trying!) Do you think these boys went to college, and do they make an actual living doing this? OMG! Is he barefoot on stage?  That cannot be clean!  Gosh, I hope he doesn’t have open cuts on his feet because goodness knows what he might be picking up.

It was sometime around this phase of my thinking that I realized my girlfriend was trying to talk to me.  But I couldn’t hear her or adequately read her lips due to the bar’s conservation efforts to save the planet by keeping their lights so darn low.  So, we resorted to texting each other while sitting less than two feet away from one another.  We agreed that while we really enjoyed meeting up for a drink, eating the hot Bavarian pretzels with mustard and listening to the bands, we knew we were firmly rooted in the not-a-spring-chicken-anymore category.  The girlfriend sitting on the other side of me confirmed my suspicions when she said (actually, texted), “Why do these boys on stage look about 12 and I feel about 80?  And what’s with capris on boys?”

Yes, I was out for a night with my family and friends, and it WAS fun – but it was also a rather melancholy reality that bit me!  I don’t think I would have readily agreed that I felt old and stodgy prior to this particular night out.  (Heck – just a month earlier, I went with a group of girlfriends to see an 80’s hair band play an arena concert, and I didn’t feel old!  Maybe I was oddly comforted by the parking lot full of minivans.)  There was just something about this particular evening that pushed me towards expecting my AARP card.  Soon.  Oprah always used to call this the “Ah ha!” moment.  Mine felt more like a “Holy Poop!” moment.

But I think I’m going to be ok with it.  After all – who did the band come running to when their ONE MARKER ran dry in the middle of autographing posters?  Yep!  The old lady prepared like a freaking Boy Scout to the rescue!

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