Last weekend, we and some friends wound up at a pub on the Upper West Side. Those of you who are NYC locals, you know the type. You know that place that always smells like vomit from the curb after 11pm? Well, it’s a notch more respectable than that, so let’s just say we were probably the only people in the place who weren’t affected by some form of the dread Bieber f(i)ever.
Two of my girlfriends, let’s call them J. and N., decided they wanted to partake in the beer pong tournament that was going on in the back of the pub (I told you it was a young crowd). So, in order to convincingly relate to the youth, they gave themselves aliases. J. and N. were now Rutgers coeds Sally and Tish (this name choice should signal to all exactly how in touch they are with Generation TXT), in the Big Apple for the summer with internships in publishing (a glamorous selection indeed). At first, this was hilarious. But it didn’t take long for a few key facts to reveal themselves:
1. Their opposing team was 19 years old (bouncer, for shame).
2. Said 19-year-olds were very, very drunk. Do you remember how you acted when you were drunk and 19? It’s self-preservation that you do not.
3. Sally and Tish are a little rusty at beer pong, which placed them pretty evenly against the sloppy teenagers at the other end of the table.
Not surprisingly, the game stalled out after each team managed to hit about half their cups. One of the kids on the other team was much more concerned with a girl in a nearby group of friends, and when his teammate reminded him that they were still playing a game, he whipped around and publicly berated him for cock-blocking (except he used a cool Millennial term which I’ve never even heard, let alone remembered. Anyone?)
Maybe to amuse herself, maybe to make the game end, Sally decided to go for the big reveal and drop the “gotcha.”
“We’re really 28!” she crowed, beaming mischievously.
Long pause. Sneers of confusion and, ultimately, mild disgust.
No one is amused.
Tish, a little injured, a tad horrified, but hopeful to salvage their collective pride, piped in, “Well, we’re accomplished!”
The boys, unimpressed, point out that they have no knowledge of any alleged accomplishments, nor do they care to learn. They’re pissed they wasted twenty minutes on a couple of old women who, now that they look a little closer, are both wearing engagement rings. Newfangled-term-for-cock-blocked indeed.
So, I’m not pretending that 28 is elderly, and no, I’m not about to say that getting married = aging out, but let’s call a spade a spade. Marital status aside, we old. I’m not sure when and how this happened, but there it is. We don’t even know how to pretend to be 19 anymore, not that I really want to be 19 again.
I’m not down for the count yet, though. No, I didn’t want to play beer pong with college sophomores. And yes, I find the occasional gray hair (oh, god) and have to work a little harder at the gym to keep it all together. But I can still throw down and remain among the last old ladies standing. And I totally still resort to peer pressure to get my friends to keep drinking with me. That makes me young and cool, right? Are peer pressure and drinking still cool?
Unfortunately, all of this pales in comparison to the joy I felt the following day, when Matt and I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond and got storage containers for our extra linens. We came home and were able to clear away the piles that had been gathering with no home, and I danced around the apartment, ecstatically placing sachets in closets and boxes. I happily unpackaged my new digital food scale, obsessively weighing every food item in our kitchen.
“Matt! Matt! This cup of melon weighs 4.2 ounces!”
“Yep,” I said, moving on to the smoked turkey, dizzy with glee.
Matt looked at me for a little while. “Does this, uh, will this serve some other purpose for you?”
I gave him a withering look while I considered the question. Ultimately, I’m not sure why I need to know that I put 2 ounces of deli meat in my salad, or that my cookie weighs 1.6 ounces. But I do. I know that much. “Yes,” I said cheerfully, and began to position a tomato on the scale. I forget now what it weighed, but I’ll tell you that I was thrilled to find out then. Thrilled.
I honestly can’t imagine a Twilight doll or a lava lamp or whatever the tweens are into these days being a better toy.
Oh! And we have new towels. They are soft and fuzzy, but not too fuzzy, and I didn’t even realize it at the time we bought them, but they match our shower curtain perfectly! Isn’t life good? I may be old, but people who can’t appreciate a new towel and a food scale and well-stored linens and a seafresh-something-or-other sachet are just plain missing out.
And yet, as I write this, it is 12:30 AM on a Tuesday and my husband is still out drinking. I am up for absolutely no reason at all, but I am taking this time to update my blog, a decidedly trendipoo hobby. Plus, I have yet to use wrinkle cream with any regularity or conviction (though I’ve been gravely warned against this cavalier attitude). So, I guess we’re not quite at our height of fogue*, either. *That’s the noun for fogey. I made it up because I am forward-thinking and FTD.** **That means “Fresh to Death.” Did you know that? I did, and I used it in a sentence.
Where does that leave us? And for how long? Do we have to pick a side? Because as much as I still love binge-drinking, eating pizza at 4:00 AM and frittering my money away on shortsighted crap (NOT referring to my food scale), I’m ultimately going to have to pick the team with fresh laundry, a clean bathroom, and an apartment where it’s safe to take off one’s shoes.
I hope — and I’m pretty convinced — that I can straddle these two worlds for at least a few years longer, or until my organs begin systematic shutdown. At 30, perhaps I’ll need to reassess. But for now, I’m comfortably in limbo, and I plan to chill here for a while. So I think I’ll just grab one of my very lovely new Riedel glasses, pour myself some $8 wine, and settle in for a few episodes of South Park before bed.