Today I was at my mom's house doing some odd jobs around the yard while the guys from S & H Gutter replaced four sections of gutter and downspout on mom's house and garage. One guy I knew was several years younger than I, but the other one was harder to figure. He could be older than I am. He could be younger than I am. My mom thought he looked like a guy who went to school with my older brother, who is 6 years older than I am. So I figured I have to ask. Here's how that conversation went:
Me: "So did you guys graduate from Lincoln?"
Matt: "Yeah, in 1995."
Gary: "Yeah, a long, long, LONG time ago. I'm pretty old."
Me: "Okay, but what year did you graduate?"
(dead silence as I fold my arms across my chest)
Me: "So what you're saying, Gary, is that anyone who graduated in 1987 is pretty old, so anyone who graduated prior to 1987 is REALLY old?"
(Gary looking petrified because I think it hit him that maybe I might be at LEAST that old, if not older)
Me: "So I must be REALLY old then, because I graduated in 1986."
It was absolutely amazing how quickly someone can get back to work even though he has just stuck his foot in his mouth.
It's all good though, they were nice guys, so I didn't give them the hairy eyeball or anything. I was out there working my ass off, at least, if not harder, than they were, so I felt pretty good about myself.
Now, several hours later, as I sit with the heating pad to my back and I've washed down some ibuprofen with my prune juice, I am thinking maybe I am REALLY old. Actually it was cranberry juice, but that didn't sound nearly as cool.
But seriously, it hit me yesterday that the two guys I hired to work Wednesdays and Saturdays are young enough to be my children. Really? They are very nice young men, so are they being polite because they were raised that way or because I'm considered their "elder?" Hm. It had better be that they were raised that way, because if they are treating me nice because I'm old I plan on beating them both with my cane.
I've had several "awakening" moments like this. There was the time when I suddenly realized that NOBODY was EVER again going to ask to see my driver's license when I bought alcohol. Although last year I was buying some cold medicine and the guy at Wal-Mart asked for my I.D. I handed it to him and said, "Yeah, I'm over 21. As a matter of fact, I'm as good as TWO 21 year olds!" He thought it was funny but not as funny as the woman in line behind me, who actually caught the joke. She asked how many months I had been 42.
Then there was the time I walked past the bathroom mirror and wondered why in the hell my mother was in the bathroom with me. Seriously! When did I turn into my mother?
Actually the most earth shattering came earlier this week as I read a friend's Facebook status. It was one of the funny ones where you use the first 10 friends on your friends list. This one was "In 5 Years." It was what jobs your friends would have in 5 years, most likely meant for someone in high school or college.
My name fell under "drug dealer." One of the other options was "stripper." I jokingly said I didn't look like a drug dealer, then it hit me; at age 43, as I look in the mirror, I honest to goodness look more like a drug dealer than a stripper!
Getting older sucks, but I guess it's better than the alternative.