Remember being 21 and getting put out and offended when the waiter no older than you at TGIFridays demanded to see your I.D? Well fast forward ten years: You are picking up a nice wine for the weekend and your favorite wine and spirits store. There are half a dozen signs posted around the register that inform you they will require identification on all patrons who don’t appear to be at least 30. It's fine. You heard about the sting that went down in your sleepy little town a few weeks ago and kids these days? Yeah, 15 year olds look 20 and 20 year olds looked 25 before they hit 18. So you wait for this ridiculously young fellow ringing your wine to ask you for your I.D.; your hand hovering expectantly over the plastic window shielding your driver’s license, itching with anticipation. But he doesn’t ask. He double bag wraps your bottle of wine, smiles as he reads your Gap graphic-T - some university that doesn't really exist that is home of the Cougars.
“Cougar. Heh, heh,” he winks. “Cool.”
You turn to leave, confused. Nobody guesses your age correctly. They always put you at 5-7 years younger so he should have asked to see your I.D. By the time your hand reaches the door to push out it is shaking. You are indignant, angrier today that this kid didn’t ask for your I.D. than you had been ten years ago when some kid had.
So aggrieved in fact, that you almost want to turn around and let him know exactly what you think about his blatant disregard for the store’s policy? Almost…? But you are! You are walking back to the counter. This is not you. You don’t confront people when they have actually wronged you much less when they are completely innocent victims of your random and unexpected age fury. Still, he needs to know that you could have been a secret shopper sent in by his boss…or an undercover cop…or even worse -- a specially hired and groomed agent/prodigy with the ATF who only looks like she might be 30 but is really 20 and…
It could happen.
As you walk back to the counter there is a spot where you are concealed by a big state mascot and beer display: your saving grace. You can hear them but they can’t see you.
“You’re gonna get your ass fired, Michael if you don’t start asking for I.Ds.”
“I asked everybody!” Michael defends.
“You didn’t ask that girl in the Cougar t-shirt. She wasn’t 30.”
Yeah, Michael. Take that!
“I helped her pick out that same wine two weeks ago. It woulda been rude if I asked her for her I.D. She woulda thought I forgot her. Besides she is over 30. She’s just hot.”
In my early twenties, I couldn’t wait to be thirty something. Because the women on Sex in the City were thirty (or pretending to be anyway) and being thirty meant being a savvy, successful, sexy, city woman. Now in my early thirties, I wish I could go back to be twenty something. Because the girls on Gossip Girl are twenty something (but pretending not to be) and they aren’t accountable for their behavior because, after all, they’re so young, what do you expect? Sometimes, just sometimes, I want to say something catty or roll my eyes or spread a little gossip and if I was twenty something, I’d have an excuse for such silly behavior right?
But I don’t…because I’m all grown up.