Life on the Other Side of Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll
I thought that since I posted about aging a few months ago, it was too soon to write about it again. But then I checked my archives and found out that I published my first and only post on the subject more than two years ago.
As I’ve gotten older, my take on time has changed dramatically. It was no surprise to discover that I can’t tell the difference between two years and three months; if I was surprised at all, it was only because my perspective is the same as everyone else’s, and that almost never happens. To invoke a meme that I’m too old to even know about, “I can’t believe I’m 51! I feel like I’m 51!,” said no one, ever.
In much the same vein, I sometimes forget how old I am. Unfortunately, the amnesia doesn’t last. There are constant reminders that I’m en route to elderly, and no, I’m not referring to the hair on my toes again.
Last week alone it happened twice. I took an Uber to a friend’s, and as I got in the car the driver looked at me and immediately turned down the radio. On the way home, the driver looked at me and didn’t. I was irritated by both of them, the first because the driver assumed that loud music would bother me due to my advanced age, and the second because, due to my advanced age, loud music bothers me.
On Friday, a musclebound guy at the gym walked up to me, introduced himself as Ricardo, and told me I inspired him. I was feeling all proud of myself and my finely chiseled physique until it dawned on me that he was inspired not because I lift heavy weights, but because I lift heavy weights and I. Am. Old.
People always say I don’t look my age, but I know better than to believe them. I tell people they don’t look their age all the time, and I’m rarely telling the truth. If someone says it to me, and they’re actually sincere, it’s probably because I’ve been eating Ding Dongs and there’s chocolate on my face, or I’m wearing an “I’m With Stupid” t-shirt and 6-inch heels.
Ironically, despite my age, I remain remarkably immature. I went to a funeral for a Guatemalan friend with Katie last month, and because I laugh when I’m uncomfortable, my reaction to the funeral was not dissimilar from my reaction to the Grammy Awards. I couldn’t stop laughing. At first I kept it together, but then the music in memory of the deceased kicked in, and convinced I was hearing “On Top of Old Smokey,” I cracked up. I regained my composure after I looked at Katie, who stared straight ahead and looked properly somber, but then they played what I thought was “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain” and I lost my shit again.
Later, Katie told me that I was right about the song selection — that they had played American folk songs at a Guatemalan funeral — but it didn’t make me feel any better. Given that Katie remained perfectly composed during the service, it served only to remind me that despite being a woman of a certain age, I still don’t know how to be an adult.
Sometimes, though, it serves me well. Being an adult means acting my age, and as long as there are Ding Dongs to eat and high heels to wear, I’d just as soon avoid it.