Monday, March 29, 2010

I'm Too Young (To Be This Old)

I don't lie about my age, and I like to think that I'm growing older with grace and acceptance - but maybe I'm more in denial than I know. My right knee is acting up - which is because I'm so active, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. So I went to see an orthopedist who specializes in athletes' knees (and who didn't tell me to stop dancing, like the last few doctors I'd seen), and who would have been an absolute delight except that I realized I was several years older than he was, despite his vast experience.

The next bad omen was going in for the MRI. I'd heard horror stories about the claustrophobia, but for me the worst part was when the technician offered me a selection of music for the headphones. (I'd brought my iPod, but she insisted I use their system with the old fashioned ear-covering headphones, because she said "the machine can be somewhat noisy" - which is like saying the Titanic took on a little water. The noise was a mash of police sirens, car alarms, and R2D2 beeps on steroids!) Head banging heavy metal wouldn't have drowned out the MRI sounds, but I appreciated the effort. However, the music selections were Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, or Nat King Cole (but not their hip jazz, the borderline muzak numbers like New York, New York, Hey There and my personal least favorite, Lazy Crazy Days of Summer, which still reminds me of those cheezy King Family Singers specials I saw as a kid). It was a 'duh' moment - realizing what those selections were telling us about the demographic they expected at a facility catering to people with bad hips, knees, and other joints. Jeepers, they think I'm old! (And that was a joke, I'm not old enough to have ever said 'jeepers' except ironically.)

I started thinking back on all the 'you're old' insulting moments I've suffered over the past few years; the subscription to the AARP magazine that starts the day you turn 50; dressing up for a night out and hearing my 16-year-old say 'Mom, women your age look slutty when they wear short skirts'; the time I got carded buying wine at Safeway, and when I told the cashier he'd made my day, he said, "Oh, no, ma'am, we have to card everyone, no matter how old you are".

However, the MRI music thing really got to me - see, I listen to vintage music, but I thought that was a fun quirk in my taste, a historical appreciation, like my love of vintage clothes and Astaire/Rogers musicals. (And I prefer the more hip choices - Benny Goodman instead of Glenn Miller, Andrews Sisters vs. Maguire Sisters, and only the early, cool Sinatra stuff.) But I didn't think of MYSELF as vintage. I mean, what's next, offering me samples of Metamucil and Depends? MRIs with a choice of Glen Campbell or Mitch Miller?

Unfortunately, my kids know how old I am so I can't lie about it, but I am now officially in denial. I'm going to go buy something cute and age-inappropriate at Forever 21, and listen to some Green Day while I touch up my totally premature gray roots!

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