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I’d Rather Be a Creaky Old Fart than Relive My Youth, Thanks

May 3, 2013

Colorado is the one state where talking about the weather is never boring. This past week alone, it was eighty degrees on Monday, and I needed to crank on the A/C in my car. Two days later, I had to twist the dial back to the heater, since the temperature had dropped fifty degrees in accompaniment of impressive quantities of snow.

But as a ski bum at heart, I knew I had to make the most of the situation. The snowstorm dropped 24″ on nearby Loveland Ski Area, a total that set a record for 48-hour snowfall in my part of the state. That white stuff was deep enough that when I went up to pay tribute, I regularly took it in my pants–and loved every minute of it.

One of the other positive attributes to days like this where even the stoics are smiling is getting to talk to fellow powder hounds on the chairlift. Granted, I’m pretty asocial, so I’ll generally keep to myself if given the opportunity, but the other people on the lift and I have a short time period together and a common interest to enthuse upon to make conversations entertaining. And two of the guys sitting next to me on one ride took that common interest a step further.

“We’re forty now,” one said. “And we skied with the first generation of squirrel suit skiers when we were about your age…wait, how old are you?”

“27.”

He stared blankly for a moment. “Okay, so when we were a few years younger, then…”

“Wait. How old did you think I was?”

“19. I’d have guessed younger, but you said you were a ski instructor, so you must have some experience under your belt.”

Needless to say, that guy made my day. I hope he and his fellow daredevil had an exceptional time making tracks, and that his friend made it back to Santa Fe for work at 10:30 a.m. the next day like he was supposed to.

I don’t usually think too much one way or the other about compliments on my appearance unless they cross the border and make a beeline for Creepersville. But being thought of as younger than I am is refreshing–whoever’s making the comment clearly thinks I’m robust, in good health, and full of promise. Does this mean I break into a gargantuan grin when I’m mistaken for a teenager? Hell yes.

Does this mean I would want to be a teenager again? Oh hellllll no.

This is, of course, no offense to the many wonderful teenagers out there. I remember being given the side-eye for the crime of belonging to that age group, and I’m well aware of how many young women and men out there perform courageous and charitable acts with more gusto than I will ever possess. So I am certainly not disparaging against the members of that age group.

I am, however, looking back on the time that I was a teenager myself with less than fond memories. I wasn’t always totally okay with not having the face and body of a Cosmo cover girl. In high school, I’d drag myself out of bed half an hour to forty-five minutes earlier than was probably necessary so that I could have enough time to put on makeup, blow-dry my hair, and choose exactly the right outfit, because somewhere along the line, I’d deduced that doing so was the bare minimum standard for passing as a partial rather than total weirdo.

Add to this the fact that I had acne and the usual raging hormones that accompany puberty, the former of which still hasn’t disappeared as promised. Throw into the mix that I was still living under my mother’s roof and my mother was, as it later turned out, certifiably nuts. Toss in a seasoning of angst over the fact that I spent the first two years of high school unable to drive, which, since I didn’t go to the high school I was districted for and therefore couldn’t take the bus, meant I had to work with my certifiably nutty mother’s schedule to get picked up and dropped off. Add a pinch of regret that I couldn’t just make good on my threats to move in with my father because he lived across town and up a very busy highway from where I went to school, so though he would have welcomed me, the logistics were unworkable.

Bake all that at 450 degrees, and you’ve got the recipe for a woman eager for independence and willing to exchange the responsibility of a few bills and household chores for the freedom of being an adult. I’m sure that, at 3 a.m. on an odd winter’s night, there will come to me a fragment of some element of being between the ages of 14-18 that I miss, but I’m damned if I can think of what that is right now.

But how often I’ve heard sighing over the carefree days of youth. I once overheard a woman gushing over how her hot young boyfriend made her feel like a teenager again with the implication that it was an amazing feeling. “Really?” I wanted to shout at this total stranger. “So you ENJOYED feeling like a loser for not being in a relationship and being wracked with anxiety that you weren’t attractive enough or good enough at making out and whatever else may have gone on in the back of your parents’ car when you were in one?”

To each her own, however. Me, I’ll take my giddiness from getting one of those rare days where the sun burns bright and clear on a walloping of fresh snow. To me, the taste is so much sweeter for not having to get the permission of a partner or parent to enjoy it.

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13 Comments
  1. Love it. People constantly tell me I look so young (as in, 15 instead of my actual 26), which would be flattering, but no one ever believes that I have any responsibility at work. I’m at an event, and I’m like, hello, I’m in charge of you. And they’re like, you’re in high school, so no.

    • bzzfft permalink

      Ha! I’m worried about exactly that when I start doing doctor things next year. Last summer at my father’s funeral some woman asked me in little-kid falsetto whose nose was nicer, my mom’s or my dad’s.

      • …And I thought incredibly stupid things came out of my mouth every so often. Please tell me she removed herself from the premises in shame.

        Yeah, there are downsides to looking too youthful. I’ve yet to have my authority questioned, but one woman I work with at Beaver Creek is really petite and has the least blemished skin I have ever seen. She works in Children’s Ski School, and if she’s not in her uniform, she gets mistaken for one of the students rather than the instructor.

  2. Believe it. I couldn’t leave my teenage years behind me fast enough either. And hell yes on looking younger. And even acting immature. Now it’s awesome because we have cars and cash. Win! Great post as always – you’re awesome. And I totally respect that you can ski, and endure cold weather, and strangers on chairlifts. Hero.

    • Haha, thank you! The skiing and cold weather are easy enough, but I do frequently have to remind myself that a chairlift ride is only so many minutes long, and the stranger(s) and I can surely talk about enough great runs or exceptional ski areas in that time to keep awkwardness at bay.

      Cash and cars, along with cash to maintain said cars, are awesome! So is immaturity. I figure if my nearly-60-year-old uncle can get away with combining sex and fart jokes, I’m in the clear.

  3. Well said… I personally cannot wait to be like 90yrs old and doing whatever I want because I am so damn old!

  4. sooooooooooo true

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