I'm sitting in church and there's a 12-year old kid on the stand who can't keep his eyes open. He's nodding and blinking heavily, his head drooping on a cycle because the man at the podium isn't talking about anything entertaining like Transformers or Legos.
17 years ago, that was me.
For full effect, download "The Times They Are Changing" by Bob Dylan and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.
At this moment I'm sitting next to an aged, wrinkled, crazy old woman. A screwball who’s been asking me since 1997 if I grew two feet since the last time I saw her, and who was also born right after World War I ended. She is old, content with life, and the highlights of her day include frozen yogurt, a glass of Metamucil and a Lifetime movie about the true meaning of Christmas.
Yes, sometimes there are days when I wish I were an old woman.
The 12-year old on the stand is wearing a Loony Tunes tie and has yet to be taught the concept of having a part in his hair. He is at the point where all the girls in his classroom have a massive case of “the cooties” meanwhile the highlights of his life include Saturday morning cartoon sessions, and sugary snacks his Mom leaves out after school. This is a kid who has been diagnosed with a hefty case of A.D.O.P.
You: “What the heck is A.D.O.P.?”
My Clever Mom: “It’s Attention Deficit, Oh Pretty!”
These two characters are at the polar opposite sides of life’s calendar, yet they are almost duplicate copies of one another. The only real difference being the century in which they were born, and a truckload of wrinkles. They are the same because their lives are so simple, so basic. They have one job to do: make it from sun up to sun down without dying a horrible death. That's it. Who cares about responsibility, goals, or tax deadlines? They don't. All they want to do is just make it through the day without getting hit by a train or having their pacemaker crash.
Vanessa: "He has a five year plan."
Big Daddy: "What is it, don't die?"
When you’re on opposite sides of puberty and menopause, you simply don't have to worry. Worry about budget cuts, worry about vegan diets, worry about work deadlines or presentations. When the concept of a driver’s license means nothing to you, life is great. You don't have to worry about how much is in your 401k plan, or how many calories is in that double ice cream sundae from Dairy Queen, or whether your bowel movement schedule is regular. The word worry isn't even in your own vocabulary at this point. When you can literally take a dump in your pants in open public, and people will just smile at the look on the face you give them in return, you know you're in the golden years of your life.
The meeting is just about wrapped up now. Both of their heads are nodding up and down. One by complete and total boredom from the bag of hot air at the pulpit, the other by minor stages of Alzheimer's. They are in their own little worlds and they don't care about anything else, life is good. I know I can never go back to being a 12-year old kid sitting on the stand in church, but one thing is for sure:
I can’t wait to turn into an old woman.