Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Tomato Soup in a Can

I started writing a letter to Jesus yesterday. Mostly to tell him that I think we could have been friends, that I'm glad he was born, and that my dad was a carpenter so hey! we may have had something in common after all. But mostly to say that while I'm glad he was born and all, I'm pretty thrilled that that whole celebration is over. Because I'm fucking exhausted.


(Is it blasphemous to say "Jesus" and "fuck" in the same paragraph? I guess it's probably blasphemous to write to Jesus to tell him you're glad his birthday is over in the first place. Fuck again).


Really, though. I just wanted to say that the holidays are great. The holidays are a magical time full of love and familial irritation, Christmas miracles and long return lines. Christmas is knowing that everyone loves you enough to not know the first thing about what you like. New Years Eve is like a fairytale where your lost shoe usually procures a nasty hangover in the morning instead of a shining Prince (actually there may be a prince, but considering that hangover he's probably not "shining"). The holidays are one of my favorite times of year but after this one have nailed a coffin in the much greater and more pressing concern I have for my well-being right now.


I'm beginning to suspect that I'm aging rapidly.


Read the signs: my work has a standard discount for both a) those that spend over a certain amount of money at a time and b) the elderly folk we as a society have labeled "seniors." While I will always adhere to the first clause, I WILL NOT give a customer a senior discount unless they inform me of their eligibility. Ever. Trust me, I've witnessed that scene go south in far too grand a way to ever make an educated guess. I refuse to be yelled at for thinking a 50-year old with two grandkids behind her is 65. Sorry, I DON'T KNOW BECAUSE I'M YOUNG AND IGNORANT.


So, a few weeks ago as I was ringing a [suspected senior] customer up I gave her our standard discount. The reason being that she had spent over $100. When she asked if I gave her the senior discount, I said yes. I did not elaborate that no, I did not think she looked like a senior. I did not attempt to make her feel better about her physique or minimally-wrinkled skin by explaining that everyone that spends that amount of money will be rewarded with a few bucks off, not just the older folks. I did not attempt to assuage her ego with the truth because you know what? I didn't care. And talking more than I had felt way too exhausting. So I let the silence hang.


That very scene is what I imagine old age to be. The don't-give-a-shit that so many older women and men have that allows them to get away with telling me that "you'll regret those tattoos when you're older" without a flinch. The I-can-say-what-I-want that comes with enduring kids that don't give a shit and grandkids that care too much that cuts people in line at the Jewel. The seemingly unwitting but you KNOW they want you to think that so they can steel the last pound of cheese that comes with old age. That kind of brain-work. In that very moment, I had become the women standing before me. MY BRAIN BECAME OLD.


That, coupled with the fact that all I could think about all day today was coming home to a hot shower and adequate slippers and a fuzzy blanket, in hopes of going to bed by 9; plus my not-so-quiet rage with weather under 64 degrees and fondness of knitting needles leads me to the only valid conclusion: that this year I will turn 80.


Maybe I'm just wise enough to realize that the holidays are not just about ME anymore, and there's a lot more to being an adult than just trying to fall asleep all night on Christmas Eve because HOLY SHIT PRESENTS; or that when you don't buy your own gloves and you get frost bite on your fingers you have to drive your own ass to Urgent Care.


I'm not feeling cynical. I'm really not. I'm just reveling in the fact that writing this post is literally the only thing I will do all night, besides continue to watch the second season of Dexter (for the second time...damn you, un-free cable and internet!) and heat up some tomato soup though (that seems like way too much effort right now). I'm just marveling in all that it takes to support yourself; that The Mother did all this shit I'm doing now with two bratty kids on her ass all the time; that for the first time since I've moved back out I haven't packed my evening with things to do and it's GLORIOUS. I'm just realizing why old ladies actually do have the right to say whatever the hell they want. They paid their dues. I think maybe I'll embrace the brief foray into that particular personality trait for a while. And hope to Jesus it doesn't stick for at least another few decades.




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