Normal reactions to aging include fear (of failure, wasted time, encroaching ugliness, and death), depression, lying (about your age), binge drinking, and memory loss – though perhaps the memory loss is binge-drinking related, actually. Hmm. Anyways, what the hell was I yammering on about?
Aging: it is the ultimate swindle. Only children and the wildly delusional – the latter typically found grovelling to imagined beings and performing freakish rituals behind stained-glass windows – will tell you otherwise. However, before you look to organized religion or Tuesday knitting club with Francine to find solace in your slow death, consider this: I have discovered a certain delight to be found in the ageing process.
It seems obvious, yet isn’t apparent for those desperate to weasel their way back into the womb. You really have to embrace oldening – yes, I am old enough to invent my own words, and yes, you are too young to do anything about it – in order to realize how invigorating it is to be an old hag!
This is how it happened: last weekend, a hostess ushers my boyfriend and I to a table in the lounge of a swanky restaurant. She leaves. No one else arrives. Ten minutes pass, waitresses pass, each refusing eye contact. I’m parched, I complain quietly. What kind of inoperative, sub-par morons behave as customer-service providers in this fashion? The rule of thumb is to offer water and/or other drinks to guests upon arrival.
In my younger days, I would internally stew and wait it out. But – suddenly – my annoyance and the influence of oldening form this crucible that forces me to rise up (literally and figuratively) and raise a stink. And it works; we get our service. However, that’s beside the point. The best part was – and is – the sense of entitlement, afforded by being an old hag, to have things done in the manner of your greatest expectations. Anything less is garbage, and you don’t have enough time left in this life to deal with dreck.
I am transformed by the catharsis of acting the begrudging shrew in almost any situation. It feels great. Try it. Does the person seated next to you on the bus have Justin Bieber blasting from their iPod earbuds? Tap them on the shoulder and give them your most repulsive scowl. Has someone deemed it appropriate to leave their grocery basket as a placeholder for their incompetent self in a line-up while they continue to shop? Feel delighted as you kick their basket out of the way, perhaps rambling incoherently at the same time. Is some young buck asking what you mean when you say something is a Kids in the Hall reference? Sneer at them and shake your head until they turn away in shame.
I’m telling you, it’s invigorating to be an entitled old hag. It almost makes me feel young again.