Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!...And Growing Old With A Glass of Malbec

I pull into a gas station mini-mart.  
I run in to buy a newspaper, and while I’m skimming headlines the attractive gentleman behind the counter says, “You looking for a job?”
How the heck did he know? 
Dismayed by this man’s extra sensory perception, I reply ever so matter-of-factly.
“Why do you ask?” I say.
“I had to fire one of my girls today,” he explains.  “I need someone A.S.A.P.”
“So you lookin?” he presses, politely.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t look around the joint for a split second, considering the possibility.  I looked at shelves of nearly stale Twinkies, smelled the burnt coffee bubbling away on the slopped up burner, thinking, “It wouldn’t be so bad.”  
But then I glimpsed the rotating wiener cooker and caught a whiff of that deliciously fragrant aroma of tubular-shaped, ground up animal parts steeped in grease (MMMMmmmm!!), and then I snapped out of it.
“No, I’m not really looking right now,” I say.
“Too bad,” the nice man says.  “I really need to find a girl soon. I think you’d be good.”
Once again, hmm.
“Well, if you have any girl friends who are looking, let ‘em know there’s an opening,” he says.
“So it has to be a woman?” I ask.
Can’t wait to hear this one!
“I just think it’s good for business if there’s a cute girl behind the counter,” he explains. “That’s all. And you’re pretty cute.”
Yeah, I still got it!
“So what happened to the other girl?” I inquire.
“Eh,” he says, waving his hand at the thought of the other girl. “She was too young. Too irresponsible.”
“Oh, I see.”
“I’m looking to hire someone older,” he says. “You’d be perfect.
“Thanks but no thanks,” I say.  And then, just like that, I was gone.
Much like my thirties. 

                                                                 *     *     *
Okay, so my thirties aren’t entirely over.  This Saturday, I will be turning thirtysomething, not exactly a life-altering, mile-stone-making number, but a significant one for me, nonetheless. 
And why is that, you might ask?
Mostly because there are so many things I’ve yet to accomplish: get married, have babies, publish my book, make a million dollars, pay off my student loans, move to the French Riviera and live in a quaint yet glorious villa on the Mediterranean Sea.  
Pretty humble ambitions, I would say.
There’s also the issue of aging.  Try as I might to drink as much red wine as possible to soak up all those age defying antioxidants, mysteriously I continue to show my age. 
Every time I go to the grocery store, I wait with bated breath to see if the cashier will card me for my bottles of wine.  If the cashier is a man, I almost always get carded.  But if it’s a middle-aged woman, she takes one look at my crows feet and waves me through.  
And they keep getting deeper, those crows feet.  And isn’t that a horrible name?  Personally, I would prefer to call them something with a slightly more positive connotation, like “wings of wisdom” or perhaps something more euphonious, such as “wave-like wisps of time.”  
Doesn’t that just sound better?
All in all, I’m not lamenting my age.  In fact, I have a few concrete things to feel good about from my years on this earth: friends who put up with me, a boyfriend who loves, loves, LOVES me! A mother who prays for me, and an imagination that allows me to dream. 
So this Saturday, I’ll raise a glass (or three) of Malbec, and I’ll let my wings of wisdom carry my thoughts to that villa on the French Riviera, where I’ll float like an ageless swan on those wave-like wisps of time.