Dressed in a marijuana baseball cap, a camouflage bomber jacket, ripped jeans and Vans hi top sneakers, it was just a typical trip to the supermarket. Or so I thought. “Why don’t you grab the vegetables and I’ll get the toilet paper”, I said to my 26 year old roommate. The second he walked off the woman standing next to me said – “Is that your son?” OHMIGOD BREATHE DON’T PUNCH HER IN THE FACE THIS IS A NICE PLACE AND THE VEGETABLES ARE CHEAP AND THEY ALWAYS HAVE YOUR FAVORITE KOMBUCHA DON’T GO BANANAS NOW HEIDI JUST BREATHE AND SMILE AND KEEP MOVING FOR THE LOVE OF GOD KEEP MOVING. I take a deep breath. “No, he’s not.” And I walk away. I’m not telling you shit bitch. You can wonder the whole fucking day what you just saw and I’ll never give you the satisfaction of telling you the truth. Again, deep breaths. But, this is not the first time this has happened. This is the 7,546th time it’s happened. And it hasn’t just happened with my roommate. It’s happened with another male friend who’s 35 and a female friend who’s 42. How the fuck old do I look to you people? More importantly, what am I not seeing? People have always told me that age is just a number but it doesn’t matter how young I feel if you keep reminding me of how young I’m not by asking me if I’m everyone’s mother. Everyone’s!!! Is no one old enough to be my mom? Are those people all dead? And why the fuck do you need to know that anyway? How is that going to make this two second meeting in the frozen food section any better? Will you go home and yell at your kid who won’t go to the super market with you because you saw some cool mom with her kid shopping for toilet paper together and isn’t that cute you need to love me more son don’t’ you know that?!
Right now you can probably tell that my daily meditation is not quite working but not only do I not want to be someone’s mother – I don’t want to look like someone’s mother. I realized that people are looking at my outfits like I look at BaddieWinkle – that weird instagranny who’s always dressed really inappropriately – i.e. exactly like me – and now I have to start asking my young friends if they’re embarrassed to be out with me. Here’s the thing… I have a lot of friends in their twenties and thirties. One might say – I collect them – and perhaps I do – but I do it for a very good reason – because I like being around people who like being alive and young people unlike people my age – are not yet dead inside. I’m trying to skip the dead inside portion of my life because I feel like I already did that – and left that – at the bottom of a bottle of wine. Fuck mature. I’m not ready for that. I like people who say yes to the idea of things that are scary or maybe stupid or just plain old retarded. I like people who like new things. Or perhaps I’m just grasping at my disappearing youth and I’m about to start drinking and drugging again. It’s a theory.
I’ve come to realize that I really had no idea how old I looked to other people. I thought I just looked really shitty for a 35 or 40 year old – I didn’t realize that I looked exactly how old I am. Fuck. I’m 56. And instead of feeling really great about that – I’m feeling like I’m a weirdo – because instead of just being out with friends – I’m out with my kids – according to your questions, or glares, or whispers. And I’m not fishing for compliments folks. I’m good. Ish. I’m okay. No need to tell me otherwise.
I write about age a lot and I think it’s because it’s been the hardest thing for me to wrap my head around because my number just doesn’t match the number I feel and you people keep reminding me of it every time you ask me if I’m someones mother. So please stop it. I’m trying to have a nice day and you keep ruining it. Also – just because I wear flat shoes and have tattoos doesn’t mean I’m a lesbian. I mean, I might be one day – but I’m not today. So please stop making me tell you I’m not someones mother and I’m not gay. If either of those two things change – you’ll be the first to know.