I’m the Old Lady.
October 3, 2011 § 2 Comments
I’ve recently taken up running at a new park. It has a neat little trail that winds through woods and it’s slightly hilly, but nothing too psycho. There’s a smallish pond that’s only about half-covered in toxic neon slime. And the leaves. Oh! The autumnal leaves are starting to burst into color. It’s just so very pleasant- you get the gist.
Like any little secluded park, it is quite the hot spot for the local teen population. The poor schlumps have nowhere else to go. I get it. They don’t want to go to their parents’ house. Which I also do get. I was once young and all angsty. There’s a basketball court, but they aren’t playing basketball. Oh hells to the no. They’re smoking weed and making out. I get it, though. I really do and it’s fine. I will share my little park.
So I still go do my laps. I even take my 2 year-old to the decrepit playground that’s probably festering with formaldehyde. It was while It was on one such outing that I was sitting, engaging with my Kindle- while watching my child out of the corner of my eye- that a new idea struck me. I’m the old lady! Maybe they’re not just slightly annoying and disruptive to my comfortable experience. Maybe I have some moral obligation to supervise these deviant young adults and report to some higher authority about what’s going on. ! Here I was sitting in my calf-grazing sweat/athletic pants wearing a semi-cool t-shirt thinking I’m a kid, when I’m not. I’m gonna be…(gulp)… thirty… in a year.
So I’m trying to wrap my brain around this concept, not feeling too at ease over the whole thing, when a young kid, maybe five or six, comes running over to the playground with his brother. His very attractive older brother, who looks to be on the wrong side of eighteen. Wrong side for me. So I politely ignore their presence, still lovin’ on my Kindle.
Despite my attempts to ignore our parkmates, I’m interrupted by a skirmish between my offspring and the little boy. I’m forced to interact with the attractive older brother, who it turns out, is exceptionally attractive. (And way too confident. Who has that kind of confidence when they’re 17 or 18?) He turns a perfectly respectable 29 year-old OLD LADY into a twitter-pated school girl. All the classic signs are there: goofy grin that doesn’t go away at the appropriate time then vanishes too suddenly, inability to utter a coherent phrase and can only manage one word answers, feeling the need to evacuate the premises at the speed of light.
So as I’m gathering up my kid, I’m so ashamed. Ashamed that I’m the old lady. I’ve been so blind. When did I get old? When did I become a criminal? It doesn’t feel so wrong to think Zach what’s-his-name is cute from High School Musical, but when you’re stuttering over a highschooler in the park, it’s downright shameful.
I suppose if there’s something good to come of all this it’s the conclusion I’ve come to when I consider the alternatives to being the old lady. Firstly, I could be dead. So I guess being old is better than that. I could also be a vampire or something eternally youthful. Also, not a great option. It would suck to watch my babies grow old and die (although everybody else I couldn’t care less about). And lastly, I wouldn’t want to go back to being in high school. Those were the worst years of my life! I hated being bossed around and having all these… urges, and all those feelings that were incapacitating. Oh, screw all that angst and drama. I’m so much cooler now.
So I embrace being almost 30, even if that does make me the old lady. To all the people who wish they could be seventeen again: be my guest. I’ll keep going back to my lovely little park, and after my run I’ll go in my lovely little house and have a lovely little beer and listen to much better music than I listened to when I was their age. I also might wear cuter running pants.