Lately, I’ve been feeling pretty old. In my head, I still feel like I’m 26, 27, 28 tops but to the contrary, I’m getting all these signs from the universe that I am most definitely middle-aged. Maybe it was the blank stare I got from my 22-year old hair stylist when I mentioned Family Ties….hello? Alex P. Keaton? Mallory? Nick? Yo?! Anyone? Or when Sarah looked at me a mixture of pity and disbelief when I told her I got my first cell phone at age 26. Or perhaps it’s the symphony of cracks and pops that emanate from my vertebrae every morning when I get out of bed. Or the gray hairs that are sprouting like weeds along my temples. Or maybe, it’s the internet ads I get on the sidebar of my e-mail account urging me to meet Fabulous Singles in Their 50s(!). Et tu, Yahoo? Alas, these signs are pathetically depressing and dizzyingly infinite in their scope and breadth.
But one morning last week, I had a series of revelations and experiences that made me feel positively pre-historic…all because a friend suggested we meet for breakfast. My friend Stacy also stays at home with her kids and sometimes, the stars align and we have childcare at roughly the same times. For the past year, we’ve been meeting for lunches at restaurants that we might not otherwise get to try and this fall, due to aforementioned child care schedules, we are shooting for breakfast spots. Stacy suggested Al’s Breakfast, a Minneapolis institution with only 14-stools at it’s narrow counter. The restaurant is 10-feet wide and is wrenched in between two larger buildings in what was an alley-way in a previous life. And, most importantly to this story, is located right off the University of Minnesota campus.
A mere 80 minutes elapsed from the time I entered the streets of of the U campus, consumed breakfast, and drove away. But those 80 minutes were chockfull of blow after blow to any illusions of youth I might have held just because I read Twilight and can text with the best of them. Let’s recount the many, many ways that the universe reminded me, yet again, that I ain’t no spring chicken.
- I had to drive my mini-van through campus. Enough said.
- While driving through campus and watching all the youthful, unwrinkled, bright eyed faces of the college co-eds, I realized that my 6-year old daughter was closer in age to these kids than I was. Ouch.
- I got stuck driving behind a girl riding her bike to class and TEXTING at the same time. The honk from my Sienna elicited a backward glance, eye roll, and lackadaisical wave to me to drive on.
- I had to attempt to parallel park in front of the aforementioned college co-eds in my aforementioned mini-van. I‘m sure I reminded them of their mothers.
- The two girls sitting next to us at the counter spent their entire breakfasts on their iPhones. Not one word passed between them..not even a “Pass the butter.” Which I’m sure if they had needed it, they probably would have texted it to each other. I wanted to shake them and say, “On all that is holy, please talk to each other! Before you know it, you won’t have enough time in the day to finish a coherent thought much less a whole conversation because your progeny will be screaming at you to change the poop in their pants!!” Youth is definitely wasted on the young.
- Stacy and I, on the other hand, spent a good chunk of our own conversation wishing that our husbands would get vasectomies.
- The 80s wear all around campus just reminded me that I actually lived through the neon, leggings, and zippered jeans the first time around and have fallen prey to fashion’s fickle whims yet again. I draw the line at MC Hammer pants though. No way.
As I drove away from Al’s, I wondered what my college self would think of my 37-year old self. Would she be horrified by my current lack of employment? My obsession with getting Katie to the potty every 2 hours? My total lack of power against the forces that are my daughters? My mini-van? And as I pondered these questions, somehow I made a wrong turn out of the U and lost my way. A metaphor for my life? I hope not. But that night, I met up with friends, drank way too much tequila, and woke up the next morning full of regrets and an ungodly craving for McDonald’s Egg McMuffins…ahhhhh, at least some things haven’t changed. And I’m pretty sure that my college self would have high-fived me if she could.