Age is nothing more than two digits on driver’s license

Published 6:39 pm Monday, July 13, 2009

He was a tall cute kid, with sandy blonde hair and a dirty baseball cap. He was probably in his late teens to early 20s at the latest.

I saw him out of the corner of my eye as I drove through the grocery store parking lot. He was walking by on the way to the grocery store and that’s when it happened.

He very noticably turned to watch as I drove by.

What? Did I just get checked out in the grocery store parking lot?

Surely not. I mean, I’m driving a Mom SUV. There are little stickers of my family on the back window. There’s a yellow car seat in the back seat. Those aren’t things that exactly scream “dude magnet.”

Still, I had been exercising. And gotten my hair cut. And, in an extra moment between negotiating with a 2-year-old earlier that morning, had managed to brush it more than once that day.

Puffed up with this newfound pride, I hopped out of the car and grabbed a buggy. I was wheeling my way through the produce aisle when I saw him again.

He smiled as I walked by.

“Well, that’s just ridiculous,” I said, glancing in the mirrored background above the lettuce display. “I’m a married woman, for heaven’s sake.”

I smiled smugly.

Sure, I may be staring down the barrel of one really scary birthday, but age is just a number, after all. Even if it’s a big, scary number that stands for all sorts of unpleasant milestones, age is, at its most basic element, nothing more than two digits on a driver’s license.

I approached the checkout line. The young man stood in front of me.

He turned his head and smiled again. This time, he spoke.

“Hi, I’m Jeremy,” he said. “Aren’t you Amber’s mother? She and I go to school together.”

Amber’s mother? You and she are classmates, thus the same age? In other words, you’re assuming I’m the same age as your mother?”

“No, sorry,” I said. “But I’ve heard everyone has a twin.”

He apologized and turned around. I just kept staring ahead.

Amber’s mother? When did I switch from being Amber to being Amber’s mother?

I walked back to the car, sitting one of the bags on the empty car seat. I got behind the wheel and drove off.

I don’t know who Amber is, but I hope she is nice to that fellow. He seems like a pretty good young man. A young, young man.