Lately, there have been more and more reminders that I am, in fact, getting older.
One of the more recent ones came last week when I was childless at the drugstore. I picked up a package of zinc lozenges, a clearanced baby saline mist, and some off-brand chocolate.
It just hit me that even my shopping list sounds ... mature. I should have gone ahead and thrown in some corn removers.
But the reminder of my age came in the checkout line, where I waited behind a man who was apparently a friend of the female cashier. "Yeah, we just got back from our vacation. How did you know we even left?"
"Well," said the cashier. "I saw your mom last week. She said you guys were on your way. How was it?"
The man shifted his weight, leaning back on his heels and rocking up to his toes. "It was all right, I guess. But you know what the coolest part was?"
"What's that?" she asked.
"Check out these shoes I got!" Then he picked one leg up and rested it on the counter, so she could see his sneakers with the neon green soles. "Aren't these sweet?"
"I bet you paid a pretty penny for those babies," she said.
"Oh, yeah. These were $150. Best souvenir I got from the trip!"
I was dumbfounded. I mean, first of all, I'm a customer with zinc lozenges, nose spray, and off-brand chocolate, for crying out loud. Isn't it obvious I'm desperate? And here you are yamming it up about your vacation with your dirty shoe on the counter?
And also ... really? I was completely derailed by his shoe-and-tell. People my age don't show off their shoes. What do people my age show? Well, as little as possible, really.
And that's what got me. Here I had been, subconsciously equating myself with the guy ahead of me. "Hmm, a vacation, that sounds wonderful," I was thinking.
And then, like a fist in the face, the fact that he and I were NOT the same age struck me with the slap of his shoe on the counter. I snapped out of my vacationland dream to start doing some math. How old was this guy ahead of me, truly? Judging by his vocabulary, footwear, and lack of consideration for the elder behind him, I'd guess a good fifteen years. I am fifteen years older than a man???
And what on earth was he buying at a drugstore, anyway? Gum?
I'm also guessing his vacation had little to do with potty stops, wet carseats, or the fifth time through Hank the Cowdog on audio.
And I shouldn't have to add (but I will because some of you are no doubt too young to understand), the chocolate was little comfort. If my age can proffer any wisdom, take this: never scrimp on chocolate. And young man? $150 would have bought a lot of chocolate (and also some denture cleaner).