Friday, January 09, 2009
A Pilgrim in an Unholy Land.
"We grow neither better or worse as we get old, but more like ourselves."
~ May L. Becker
We stepped out onto the platform before the track encircling the upper-most floor of the elaborate IntraMural Athletic center at UW. On the readerboard ahead and above, arrows flashed the direction in which the track was to be run upon, pointing towards our left. We dutifully obliged and looked to our right, as one would do before crossing a street. Very responsible and very, well, rigid, we stepped out.
And then jumped against the wall.
An army of semi-belligerent college co-eds blitzed towards us, ponytails and patchy pubescent whiskers flying everywhere. One after another dozens of what I swore were 14-year-olds, in all shapes and sizes (though most seemed anorexic and maybe 100 pounds soaking wet--including the guys) bounded and clomped towards us in strides of varying degrees of awkwardness. All looking very resentful of our middle aged selves. The girls all wearing shorts that looked a little to low and short. Guys, well, looking like guys. And smelling like guys.
We waited and watched in some sort of convalescent, pathetic stupor while our age became an ugly truth. Jan and I shook our heads and started walking towards the cardio equipment to warm up.
Creak. Creak. Snap. "Ow."
Its like fishing.
"Wow--a 40-pounder just smacked into me and tumbled across the deck, I think."
"That's a big one. Can we keep it?"
It happens right under our very snouts. We become "those old people". As teenagers we look up to early 20-somethings as gods. 24 year olds? Super humans. They have their own bills, their own jobs, school only by choice, bar experience... 28 year olds? OLD. At least it used to be. But I think the blurry age barrier is even blurrier now, fortunately for the 40 year old male crowd.
31-year-olds? A gnats eyelash away from being the age of their parents. DREADFULLY OLD. Old enough to make fun of but not old enough to take seriously. Well, that is unless you are rich and can drink your weight in jello-shots, all after doing a dead-on impression of... wait, who are the popular musicians these days?
I wonder when it happens. When did I grow up? And when will I feel grown up?
I need some coffee.
Where is the Ibuprofen and Icy-Hot??
Crap, it happened.