My 32nd birthday taught me that birthdays don't mean shit: I am older, but I always have to answer to someone whether I like it or not.
Just to give you an example: I was grocery shopping at Jewel and an elderly woman was blocking the aisle with her cart.
Afraid to startle her, I lightly cleared my throat, "Excuse me, ma'am."
She wrenched her neck around and told me, "You can wait, dammit."
The grown woman in me took her earrings off:
"Oh, no she didn't..."
But the child prevailed instead, "Yessim".
Besides, I couldn't argue with this lady, I could give her a heart attack, right?
I beat myself up the whole way home talking to myself and building scenarios of what I SHOULD have said. Neck action and eyes rolling, I knew for damn sure, if I ever saw that lady again...well...you know, the same thing will likely happen.
I'm a punk, I know.
Another time, I was dining at Daley's Restaurant on 63rd and Cottage Grove and a nice old man at the next table struck up a conversation with me. My pretending to be interested opened up a can of worms because he started talking about 9 decades full of afros, wives, strip joints and hip hop and rib tips.
I was slowly but surely dying inside.
I wanted to slap my hand over his mouth and scream through clenched teeth, "Hippity hop music, as you call it, is not the devil's message to youth."
Instead, I fell asleep with my eyes open until he got tired of me. As disturbing as that sounds, it's true. I couldn't bring myself to say, "Close your mouth."
I am reduced to being a child once more.
My morning McDonalds coffee experience was shattered when I was stuck in the drive-thru behind a Nissan Sentra.
"Jesus, are you kidding me?" I lightly tapped on my horn to alert the driver.
Now, the car behind me honks because we're now stuck and someone has to move forward and it has to be the jackhole in the Sentra.
I can't pull out of the line without ripping off the front on my car.
I lean on the horn and feel my face get hot as the Sentra's white reverse lights come on.
"What the hell?"
As I said this, the break lights of the Sentra came on as if to taunt me.
Then, ever so slowly, the Sentra inches forward freeing us from the jail our cars had been in.
Pulling off, I rolled my window down ready to rip the driver a new one:
My heart sank when I saw the 99 year old, white haired Betty White looking lady inside rummaging through her purse.
I was ashamed.
I am a bad, bad, little girl.
If this person were younger, I could see myself yelling through my window a terror of insults.
The old woman looked up and saw me and appeared to find what she was looking for. She slowly rolled down her window as if to show it to me.
It was a white,
Wait for it..
I pulled off laughing to myself.
I want to be that old lady.
I realized then that age is just a race to get the point in your life where you can treat other people like crap without consequence.
I dig it.
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Yep, you're welcome!