The Store Incident
A brief crash course on youth and aging.
Babies represent total youth.
Old people represent total aging.
Everyone in between represents some youth/aging categories.
People around the ages of 16-25 and occasionally 30 can sometimes often look very young. In fact, this is why people who look 30 are carded, despite the drinking age being 21. There comes an age, however, and this age varies for people, and can be from 25 to 35, when it is simply impossible to be mistaken for well, the more youthful 16-25 age. Young skin, the kind that needs to be carded, is dewey, soft, there's less lines, few if any age spots, nary a blemish lest that blemish be acne. They look innocent, no matter how hard they try not to.
Then, at some point, the cumulation of your life builds up and explodes onto your hands, your face, your neck, everywhere visible, and thankfully, places not commonly visible. There are lines, deeper with the passing years. There's a harshness, oh you may look warm and friendly, but innocent, HA. And all these lines, marks, spots, the depth of your eyes, the way you walk, no longer in a cocky lackadaisical way, but now in a purposeful way, mark you. And your cocky has long since morphed into confidence, which, even in a grocery store you can't be bothered doing. It doesn't take confidence to buy milk, so why bother. No, there is an age where you can no longer pretend to be any other age than Adult.
I have always looked younger than my age. I probably still do. I have hit the Adult phase, though, and haven't been carded for anything for the past five or six years, and only sporadically for years before then, and this is with the 'card those who look 30' rule. You see, by no imagination, not even great imagination, could I ever be mistaken for 21, unless alcohol is involved, on the part of the cashier.
So imagine my surprise when, the one day I've like ever ever ever left my license (some of us are paranoid) home, I get carded. Seriously. On the upside of the thirties, way past dewey skin, with enough character in my face to never be viewed as remotely child-like, I get carded.
And you know what?
I was annoyed.
I was annoyed because if you happen, strangely and luckily, to be a woman in your upper thirties who still looks 21, you'll have been so used to flashing your ID that you'd probably not buy alcohol without it. But, if you haven't been carded for six years, never mind that you go to the store daily and that everyone at the store knows you, and has never bothered carding you, than you know that the cashier is just being a snot.
And you know what?
I called her on it.
She told me without my ID she couldn't sell me beer.
And I acted annoyed, not mad, but I did say 'I understand, it's your job,' but then I said, in a snippish, snooty mom voice, "Do I really look 30 to you?"
I said 30. Because as I said earlier, by no stretch of any sober imagination, could I look 21. I could, if you have poor eyesight, pass for 30. But not 21. And she knew it. She was sticking to the '30' rule, like a snot.
She sold me the beer.
I didn't even think of it as a victory, or a HA. I thought of it as more a wasted conversation because some cashier was being a snot, and really, do any of us really have time, at our age, to put up with snottery?
In the end, I believe it was the Adultness of my irritated tone that did it. If I were younger, I would have argued, protested, and been confrontational.
Instead, I was snooty.