These damn kids these days…
I think there’s a point in everyone’s life where there is a discernible shift from tolerance, indifference and acceptance, to “oh, hell no.” And this shift occurs somewhere from your mid to late 30s, but well before your 40s. It’s called, “I am officially getting old, and you fucking kids are pissing me off.”
I hit my moment when I was walking the dog before work one morning. We live just a few blocks south of the local high school, and there were some girls, I’d say 15-ish, smoking cigarettes in the alley, all gothed out, black jeans, punky hair, I’m sure before their school day. Me, in my classic London Fog trenchcoat, decked out for my office gig, looked at them and my first impulse wasn’t “Oh, yeah, suck in that sweet temptress nicotine. Fuck the man!” But “I really should call the police on them and scare the living shit out of them.”
It was then that I officially realized I was old.
This is not a new scene in my life. When I was 22 and living in London, I used to see a gaggle of school girls in their Catholic uniforms smoking in the alley by my apartment every single day on the way to the Tube. What was my first impulse? To light up, myself a very enthusiastic lover of cigarettes? Yes, and then to laugh and move on, thinking how pathetic their lives were because they couldn’t sit in a pub and puff away to the Smiths and talk about shit over a proper pint.
But these kids, these little Seattle riot grrrrls in the making, or just gutter punks, really pissed me off. And it didn’t have anything to do with their smoking. It was envy. Envy that there are seemingly few roadblocks left for me, rights of passage if you will, things that I can’t do that are illegal or just a little naughty that will piss off my elders–because there merely aren’t that many elders left to piss off and the ones who are left could really give zero fucks. Much like me. I mean I can smoke in alleys and swig beer out of tallboys, but that doesn’t make me reckless or defiant. It just makes me the token neighborhood pathetic, crazy alcoholic lady who keeps flashing everyone her tits. And our neighborhood already has one of those.
Public service message: Also, smoking is just really fucking stupid. There really is no justification for it. I’m pretty lucky that I look young for my age (thanks acne and an early introduction to Retin A and exercise and sunscreen!), but sometimes I wonder, “Shit, if I hadn’t done all that damage to myself as a younger person, just how hot could I be? Like Jane-Fonda hot when I hit 70?” As it stands now, I’m just shooting for Phyllis Diller hot, and I’ll be lucky if I hit that.
On a sick note: I still love cigs and can’t wait to start smoking again when I hit 75, maybe 80 (we’ll see how things are going…).
This also leads into my daily life, which I feel has a large part of lecturing to my boyfriend’s 13-year-old daughter about “wasting energy and turning lights off and don’t throw away perfectly good food,” and all that shit. Holy fuck. I’m my parents. Also, living with a teenager is like living with a really shitty, freeloading roommate who has absolutely no incentive to listen to you whatsoever. They also tend to have really crap taste in music. And you can’t kick them out.
So, there you go. If old age is enjoying a decent glass of wine and listening to vinyl and playing card games, then fucking sign me up.
When did you first realize you were officially getting old?