It’s official: I’m old
I’m not the type of woman who usually fixates on her increasing age. In fact, in some dark recess of my brain I still believe that I am fresh-faced and twenty-two: slim, athletic, and considered reasonably attractive by members of the opposite sex. It’s a very deep, dark recess.
Before you ask, I do own a mirror. However, somehow every time I look at my haggard reflection staring droopy-eyed back at me I find some kind of excuse for why I’m looking particularly rough that morning. Sometimes it’s because I didn’t sleep well thanks to my two children under 5 and ever-expanding pregnant belly. Other times it’s due to poor lighting, a bad hair day, or just plain old low self-esteem. Interestingly enough, it’s never simply an accurate likeness of my no-longer-in-the-prime-of-my-life, exhausted, stretch-marked, aging self.
Most of the time I refuse to acknowledge what the rest of the world is already painfully aware: I am getting older, and being the mother of soon-to-be three children under five is speeding the process. However, every once in a while I have a moment of clarity among my blissful ignorance and youth-colored glasses. Yesterday, standing in line at a Panera, staring painful daggers into the backs of two well-dressed, attractive, unsuspecting twenty-somethings, I realized that I have officially become not only old, but fat and cranky too. It’s the unholy trinity.
Before you harshly judge my seemingly random hatred of this poor couple, let me paint the picture of the scene for you.
It’s 5:30pm on Sunday evening, and as usual I have procrastinated dinner plans until it’s too late to cook anything with nutritional value so I am driving to Panera to source dinner for my starving family. I have just spent the entire day boxing up approximately four tons worth of crap I didn’t even know we had to make room for the new addition to our family. I’ve unwisely been lifting and hauling storage bins while my toddler clung to my leg and his brother fed his lunch to the dogs. Needless to say, I’m feeling a touch sore. More accurately, I feel as though I am splitting in two at the crotch with every step I take: like a turkey wishbone being pulled apart at the dinner table.
It’s dark as I pull blearily into the parking lot of our local Panera. Thankfully someone is just pulling out of the parking space directly in front of the door, so I wait patiently for the car to reverse at a snail’s pace from the space, pull back in, readjust, reverse again, stop, readjust, and so on for what felt like an eternity. Finally, the car clears the rest of the parked vehicles by the required three feet that he requires for driving confidence and pulls away slowly.
With a sigh of relief I begin the wide swing required for my SUV to enter the parking space when from the other end of the parking lot a zippy little hatchback slices in front of me and into the coveted space. It’s clearly too dark for the driver of said vehicle to witness the dramatic and vulgar display of hand and facial gestures directed in their direction, but that didn’t stop me from trying.
Feeling irritated and unsatisfied with my revenge I pulled into a space 200 yards away from the door and headed for the restaurant to discover what kind of person was in such a hurry that they felt justified in cutting off a hungry pregnant lady and forcing her to endure at least 40 more agonizing, waddled steps than necessary. I arrived in the queue behind a young couple, who I could only assume were the guilty culprits.
They were probably in their early twenties, and clearly newly in love. He could barely keep his well manicured hand off her pert, tight jeans-wearing, clearly-never-spread-to-birth-a-child ass. His too-blond-to-be-natural tips were spiked just right on the top of his head and her hair was pulled into a messy pony tail that said “I just spent an hour in front of the mirror perfecting the just rolled out of bed look…because I can.” They were stylish, thin, and young.
I hated them immediately.
I, on the other hand, was mouth-breathing behind them thanks to the endless sinus congestion and short breath of pregnancy. My hair was greasy and flattened to my head. I was wearing yogurt covered black sweat pants, tennis shoes with no socks, and a t-shirt that couldn’t quite cover the full extent of my pregnant stomach. My eyes were bloodshot and stinging from the effort of driving in the dark, which I pretty much never do anymore thanks to the sleeping habits to two young children.
I was a mess, and what was worse was the fact that I didn’t care. I wasn’t embarrassed to be seen in my frumpy, pregnant state. Instead I was angry that this couple in front of me dared to flaunt their care-free youth so flagrantly, and where people were trying to eat their dinners too. Positively disgusting.
That was the moment: the moment I realized that I had officially become old and crotchety.
I was one of the Grumpy Old Men, but with enormous sore boobs and stretch-marked hips. I wasn’t offended by their public displays of affection or even by the fact that they had stolen my parking place. I was offended by the fact that they were younger than me, and there was nothing I could do about it.
So I did the only thing I could do in the situation: I gave them my most evil stares while their backs were turned, cursed them with very large, colicky future babies, and hurried to order my food so I could still beat them out of the restaurant. Clearly I don’t have much entertainment in my life.
I emerged victorious into the parking lot a few minutes later while they were left canoodling somewhere in the back of the restaurant. I felt superior, wise, and a little less disgusting. Sure, every step I took toward my soccer-mom-mobile felt like I was 80 years old and in need of a hip replacement, but at least I beat them to the car even though mine was farther away.
Then I noticed that the evil hatchback was missing from the now mockingly empty front parking space. Apparently the nice, attractive, young couple in front of me in line were not the free-loading, pregnancy-hating, hotrods I had taken them for. Oops.
For a moment I considered lifting my 12-pound baby curse, but then they crashed gigglingly out of the front door with their hands in each other’s back pockets and I realized I still hated them. I was old, they were young, and I sincerely hoped she tripped on her three inch heeled leather boots and fell on her face in the parking lot.
It turns out I’m a terrible person when I’m pregnant and probably shouldn’t be allowed out of the house, near other human beings, after dark because apparently I turn into Walter Matthau.
On the bright side, now I have another excuse to make my husband run my errands for me. Silver linings.