Me, old? I beg to differ with you


I don’t want to alarm anyone but I was maamed the other day. Me! Maamed. I’m too young to be maamed! This can’t be happening. I’m only 34! I’m a kid!

Unfortunately, the 14 year old speaking to me didn’t see it that way. Clearly, she saw me as prime maam material. This just proves the theory: teenagers are evil.

Not me. Maam is for grandmothers. I’m hip, happening, the embodiment of youth! Maam? Oh no! Say it ain’t so!

Clearly, I’m caught in limbo. I now exist in a dimension somewhere between people exclaiming that they have underwear older than I am, and others calling me maam.

Aside from the obvious fact that underwear age dating is far more information than I need from anyone in my acquaintance, I’m not sure what to make of this.

How old am I? Granted, I have finally reached the age where I do forget how old I am. You have to be a special kind of stupid to forget how old you are. But honestly, once I turned 21 why keep track?

When the question arises I’m forced to quickly figure it up in my head. Let’s see, I was born in 1968 … this is 2003, that makes me 30 something, oh, I know this one … yep that’s it, I’m 34 … and a half.

Now obviously, I can’t be too terribly old yet. I still say senseless things like “and a half.” Leaving just me and all the kindergarten kids counting our age in halves.

I bet you never hear an octogenarian saying “Yeah, I’m 88 and a half, don’t feel a day over 87.”

Debt makes you older. On the other hand, I know I’m a grown-up because I have children, a spouse, and debt. Debt is a sure sign of adulthood. Particularly if the debt is for the most mundane of things.

A sports car and a credit card maxed out following the Grateful Dead? Maybe not. Mini van, toaster oven, or an adjustable rate mortgage? Definitely grown-up stuff.

I purchased a major appliance recently, complete with snazzy options like an ice maker and night light (so I can find my ice maker in the dark, naturally).

I felt quite mature as I handed over more money than I paid for my first car to make this completely ordinary appliance mine. That’s adulthood. No kid willingly purchases a major appliance.

I have yet to see hordes of 16-year-old boys salivating over a frostier chest freezer while they caress the finish longingly.

For example. To illustrate: Once in a while I like to buy a bit of wine. At the grocery checkout I preemptively offer my driver’s license, certain I will be carded. I’m not. That hurts.

In fact, not only am I no longer asked for proof that I appear over 21, but the underage cashier has to call in a manager. The manager appears to be all of 23.

This geezer, with easily five years on anyone else employed there, is the only person in the store legally old enough to push the wine across the scanner.

Thus the entire staff is called to action all because the old lady – me! – has to have her hooch.

By the time we go through this rigmarole I feel fully qualified to expect senior discounts on the stuff.

When I was your age… On the other hand, I’m old enough to be the parent, but too young to have anything really good to berate my children with.

I didn’t walk five miles in the snow uphill both ways. We always had electricity and running water and I don’t remember Watergate at all (I was 5). As a result, all my “in my day” stories are pathetic. So we didn’t have Cartoon Network when I was a kid – big deal.

Back in the primordial days of my teens (this would have been back in the dark ages of 1986 or so) I was assigned an essay to predict where I would be in the year 2000.

I envisioned myself in a space suit, flying around in a hover car. I never imagined joy in major appliances and forgetting my age.

Can’t change a thing. Nonetheless, as age goes, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve got sticky kid kisses, and my 4-year-old daughter’s full body hugs, a spouse who is a prince, an ice maker that works most of the time (ice for everyone!) and a career that is the envy of many (even if the paycheck is less so).

Could an old-timer of 34 and a half really ever want for more? No maam!

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt is enjoying her 30s and plans to stay there awhile. She welcomes comments c/o or P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.)

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