Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Letting It All Go.

It's 11:30 p.m. on a Monday in the Metro, and the digital screen that says when the next train is coming is frozen forever, and so I find myself thankful yet again for the smartphone. I still do not take for granted the countless waits that would have been so much more painful without the smartphone. You damned kids have no idea what waiting was like before smartphones.

As I'm looking at the various fun things on my phone, a person to my right comes up and stands not close, but just a little too close for such an uncrowded platform, invading my periphery. My eyeballs lock even more ferociously onto the iPhone. "Hi," this person says, but then he wanders away, and I am glad.

Not 30 minutes before, I'd been talking with my high school friends about getting older, your looks changing. "At what point do you just let it go?" my friend asks. I say, never. My mom has not let it go. She has not had plastic surgery, and she has not let it go. She is fit and does the same things that she has always done to put her public self on. She is nearly 67 and beautiful. But my friend is undeterred from the grim scenario she is posing. "What if you are losing your hair for genetic reasons?" she asks. Is that the point where you let it go? Just give up the caring?

"That's when you say, it's time to go wig shopping," I say. My friend is more in favor of going completely bald. Different strokes. I do not share that my interest in shoes lately skews toward the comfortable.

I said that while sometimes it feels, well, not great to get noticed by men less than I used to be, it is also kind of freeing. That doesn't mean I want to let myself go, but a) I am very happy with Sir UncMo and I do not want anyone but him checking me out and b) even without Sir UncMo, that's just not a kind of attention that I need or want to have any longer from strangers.

No sooner do I say this than I am at the Metro and the space-invading person, who I'm guessing is somewhere between 19 and 22 years of age, is back at my side. "Hi! Were you watching the USA game?" He is drunk and wearing some kind of USA paraphernalia pertaining to the World Cup game that took place earlier.

"No," I say. I was not watching the game. Nothing about me—not my firm dedication to my phone or my refusal to remotely turn in his direction—says hey, let's chat.

He says, "Where are you from?"

I give him a look that says, "Really? Are we going to do this right now? Are you so inebriated that you fail to discern the fact that I could be your mother?"

But USA Boy chooses not to understand my look. "What! I don't know where you're from," he says, defending  himself in the imaginary scenario where I actually care how much he knows about me. "Are you from Montgomery County?"

Yes I am from Montgomery County, but at this point I can't just dispense with this efficiently. I have to draw it out and make it awkward, because that's what I do, and that's why this blog exists.

"No," I say.  I'm not so much answering his question as speaking my truth. "Oh," he says. "Then where are you from?"

I shrug. "Around here."

"What high school did you go to?" Remember, friends, when this question had relevance?

I sigh. "Churchill." His eyes widen. "Oh! Churchill is in Montgomery County!"

"I know, but I don't feel like chatting right now, I'm sorry," I say. Part of me feels like I'm being this really bitchy person when in fact I am just standing my ground against a drunk fool.

USA Boy makes an "aw shucks" motion with his head, pauses a moment in case I want to change my mind, and then moves away. But he doesn't stray far. He manages to pass behind me at least twice and make a comment about how Churchill sucks. I guess he thought that would be the comment that really puts him over the edge, in my estimation. "Whoops USA Boy, I thought I didn't want to have anything to do with you until you started saying that my high school sucked. Now I'm realizing I want you right this very minute."

He gets on a most-welcome train in the opposite direction, muttering about my high school. I am texting my Churchill friend and telling her the irony of our conversation preceding this very rare yet unwanted bit of attention.

"I think I would prefer to go unnoticed," I texted her.

She replied, "Just let it all go downhill from here and it won't be a problem anymore."

Music: "Voices"


No comments :