My friend disclosed to me today that I was maturing. Actually she informed me that 'we' were maturing. This chilling observation came on the heels of my own rather somber observation while sitting with her in a local tavern.
The scenario played out at the closing of a wedding reception. The group had adjourned to the hotel bar, mostly I'd dare to say, simply out of an old habit. We have a quite colorful repertoire of memories that have taken place at just such occurrences, although more often without the prerequisite excuse of a wedding reception. We were just plain good time girls. We needed no excuse, only breath and enough money for the first drink. The rest most often seemed to have been bought for us.
Over the course of our friendship there have been many changes; births, deaths, jobs, and marriages. Throughout it all we steadfastly held to our beliefs that we were the ultimate survivors of the belly up to the bar group. We would always feel welcomed on our unfortunately ever decreasing forays into this world, that no matter our age, we would always not only fit in, but want to fit in.
So what happened? And how did it almost happen overnight?
Now, lest I conjure up visions of a couple of gray haired alcoholics with bulbous red noses and unsteady gaits, our breaths reeking of altoids to stave off the lingering smell of gin, I must admit we didn't do this scene all that often. It's just that when we did it, we did it well, we did it hard, and we did it fun. I'd venture to say if you were included in that grouping you remember us. Yes, we were THAT good. (Informational factoid: although we have no gray hair or red noses, the jury is still out on the gaits)
But sitting there this past weekend I glanced around at all the people in there half our age, some in there legally for the first time and I saw myself sucked back dizzily in a churning vortex of two decades to a time when I sat and watched older women at the bar and sadly thought, "Is this all they have in their lives? They come here on weekends and drink and try to feel 21?"
Suddenly I was the one I used to pity.
Pity isn't it?
So, wallowing in this grand and vast vat of self pity, I lamented this sad state of affairs to my friend in such a manner that would cause one to think I was contemplating being the newest volunteer as grillwork on the first MacTruck barreling down the highway.
She, with her consummate and well-developed wisdom, merely pointed out that we have matured. She explained that we have gone beyond wanting to be in the bar scene, that we are growing up.
Growing up? At my age? Why does it echo like growing 'old'?
Is there a pill for this? Can I hook up to an IV of immaturity? Will Blue Cross cough up the money for a hussy transplant?
I'm far far too old to grow up now. I have no guidance, I don't know how to accept this new found maturity with the grace and dignity that it deserves. Most of me cries out in sheer terror, fighting sensibility with all the strength this forty something self can muster.
Is there perhaps an old folks bar? Watered down drinks? Oldies music without the power of two thousand pounds of woofers and eighteen six foot tall speakers? Bar stools with padded backs, lift mechanisms, and built in porta potties? Jello Jigglers® instead of bar nuts?
I just hope someone hears my cry for help before it's too late. Please someone help me before I start knitting!