Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Day I Became Middle Aged

Word of the Day : March 22, 2016

hie (verb)

1 : to go quickly : hasten
2 : to cause (oneself) to go quickly

It happens every time I have a day off: I make plans and spend the morning of those plans wishing I hadn't. My days off are few and far between and lately I have never waned in my sole desire to sit quietly and do something passive like watch a film or read a book. But I have not arranged my life this way (still kicking myself about that) and I have obligations and work to do otherwise. So with the morning of a day off stretched out ahead of me in an opaque fog, I measure my time in coffee cups and give it to the end of one for staring off into space, thinking about this or that. I do that every day but workdays and appointments mean I hie through the process so that it feels like one moment I am taking a hot sip, thinking about the dream I had and the next I am running to catch the bus at a pace that sets the day. On days when there is no timetable, it is entirely possible for me to sit and stare, undisturbed, knowing how guilty I'll feel about it around 4 p.m. when the light outside is changing and I haven't typed a word. Today is just such a day and, would you lookit that...it is 5 p.m.

Pretty much every day.
I blame the weekend. When comparing my one day weekend on Sunday to the weekends of the past few months, I'd stick it firmly in the "eventful" column. (Other columns include "boring", "family", "boring family", "productive", "sexy", and "forgotten"...in case you were wondering.) I actually had plans on top of being at work and so time was a mini tornado and by Monday I was a row of exposed house foundations, shredded bits of wood piled jaggedly around exposed bathroom fixtures and abandoned dolls. I might be exaggerating. But only a little. I felt incredibly old and feeble by the end of it all.

It's just that I got on an escalator on Sunday morning, freshly deposited from the 7 train at the 34th Street Hudson Yards terminal which was just opened six months ago but today looks like it was built in 1967 with a design that was meant to look like the future back then. And I was adrift in a reverie about this, about how city buildings can never look modern and even when it seems like they try to make them modern or at the very least semi-contemporary, they still somehow manage to leave an air of "this needs to be updated" everywhere which seems to me like it has to be intentional because how could a brand new train station already feel so old and in need of repair. And maybe I was cranky because I had gotten home too late the night before when, against my better judgement, I convinced my friend Lauren that it would be fun to go dancing after we had spent "An Evening with Noel Fielding".

Should have just ended the night on a high note.
And I was thinking about how it WAS fun to be out and dancing...in theory. But in practicality, I was being flirted with by people inappropriately younger than me and dancing to songs that were "classics" to about 90% of the room and as a result of this realization, maybe I had had a touch too much vodka. And then I thought about how booze doesn't do anything for me anymore other than make everything seem a lot bleaker the next morning and how I kind of just want to give it up altogether because I may have finally reached the point of it just not being worth the money or the calories or the, I don't know, wanting to die the next day. That death wish mood is likely why when, midway up that escalator, which really should have been a funicular at this point, I felt three solid drops of something wet from the ceiling above me and said aloud to no one in particular, "This is what we pay taxes for??" forever adding about 15 years to my current age.

I hied into middle age during that escalator ride. Those three mystery liquid drops from the ceiling of a six month old train station on a day when it wasn't raining served as my baptism and for the last two days, I have been feeling comfortable, not giving a good goddamned about what strangers think or say and I've been okay with staying home and doing a crossword puzzle and reading my book.

Unfortunately, I don't qualify yet for reduced subway fare.


  1. (Companionable sigh...) I have a birthday plan to see a rock concert next week. Bringing earplugs, will probably stand in the back because I don't want to be shoved around, and debating canceling work the next morning because really, I'm too old to bounce back from a late night.

    1. We were young...once. Remember the mosh pit at The Shoppe? I think I would dislocate a shoulder if someone lightly bumped in to me at this point.