That red-headed chick was working the self-checkout at Safeway again today. The Chamaco and I were going through the line, he was buying something with the $2 I had just given him for helping me return cans, and I was teaching him how to use the self-checkout machine thingie. And that girl came up to me again (she has spoken to me before) and this time she asked, "Is he your kid?"
"Yep." The Chamaco replied for me. Which I guess gives me some credibility.
The look of surprise on her face was one I have seen before, and she said in awe, "You don't look old enough to have a kid!"
Shrugging and going about my checkout, I said, "I'm twenty-seven and he'll be eight in a bit over a week."
"But you don't look twenty-seven!" she protested. "And I think I've told you that before."
"Yes you have, lady, but you telling me that doesn't magically make me the nineteen you think I look," I thought but did not say.
There are two times of year when I get a little cranky about my age. One of them is when my birthday is approaching. The other is when the Chamaco's birthday is approaching. Unfortunately the two events are only about three months apart, so just when I get over feeling old because of my birthday, it's time for his.
If you want to be technical, no, I'm not old enough to have a kid who is eight. Because that would mean I had him when I was 19, and that would just be... oh, wait a minute. I did have him when I was 19. And technically I could have had him much sooner... I mean, a friend of mine in high school gave birth when she'd been 15 for a week or two. So really, speaking in the strictest of biological senses, I am more than old enough to have a child who is on the verge of turning eight. But every time I have to add a year to his age in my head, I feel about two years older myself.
It doesn't help that he's now old enough to be capable of reminding me verbally how young I'm not. One day while we were driving in the car, a Seether song came on the radio and the Chamaco asked me, "How old is this band?"
"Well, they started in 1999, so about ten years old," I said. Because this is the sort of trivia I know about Seether.
"How about Nirvana? How old is that band?"
I thought a moment. "I'm not sure when they started, but I think they ended in 1993 when Kurt Cobain died. So at least 16 years." (And boy did that make me feel old.)
With an air of frustration, the Chamaco asked, "Do you know any bands that I'm older than?" Having to admit that I couldn't think of one off the top of my head (that both of us would know) was kind of sad for me. I felt ancient.
That being said, I know I don't look my age. People I meet and ask to guess my age usually guess somewhere around 19. The good folks down at Bi-Mart card me to buy fireworks every July (for my non-Oregon friends, you have to be 16 to buy fireworks here). And most people, upon meeting me and my sister together, assume she is older (she is eight years younger). Still, sometimes I feel like a real dinosaur. I'm sure it's something psychological. But the good news is that I'll be 37 when the Chamaco graduates high school. If I avoid having any more children maybe I'll get to have another go at that being a teenager thing that I never really did the first time around.
In unrelated news, I talked to Smiley Dick today, which is something I try to avoid. I couldn't help but notice two things... he has shaved off all his hair, and he was smoking a cigarette. I was surprised by both, because he is fond of his hair and he had led me to believe that he quit smoking. So I asked him, "When did you start that up again?"
"This?" he asked me, waving the cigarette about. "You're presuming that I actually stopped."
"Well, yes, because you told me you had quit," I pointed out.
"No more so than you'd quit eating chocolate," he said.
I refrained from pointing out how retarded of a statement that was for a few reasons. First, I didn't want to continue the conversation. Second, I don't actually eat chocolate hardly at all. And third, most people aren't addicted to chocolate, thus they don't need to "quit" chocolate, and nobody notices if they don't have chocolate for a month or two and then they start back up again... and as excited as he was when he "quit" smoking, you could tell it was a big deal to him. I don't expect to get a text from him telling me that he's "quit" eating chocolate. Also nobody thinks it odd if a kid starts eating chocolate when he's 11 (other than maybe it's weird he didn't do it sooner). But one of the things I'm getting really good at with Smiley Dick is learning when to just smile and walk away so I don't have to have these arguments which will make him shake his head at me in that despairing fashion of his, as though I am just so unbelievably stupid because I cannot grasp his higher-level wisdom.
There's a reason we're divorced.
Song o' the Day: "Bitter Taste" by Three Days Grace. (In honor of S.D. Go look up the lyrics.)
Quote o' the Day: "Something awkward just happened in my kitchen!"
"Just so you know, Damian and Mindy are in bed. He's showing her how to use the force."
Really I should have switched those two around, because the latter quote was what led to the former. :-)