Monday, September 11, 2006

His question was so innocent and yet so cruel.

I was in the Dominion checkout line. I found myself doing something symptomatic of working too many weekends - purchasing expensive pre-cut fruit salad and ice cream twenty minutes before a pot-luck dinner with friends.

My blood sugar was exceptionally low and all I could think about was sugar and getting it into my bloodstream as quickly as possible.

I decided to purchase one of those new "Thins" Cadbury chocolate bars that everyone seems to be eating at the moment. [It is obvious my judgment was clouded by the hypoglycemia - why would any self-respecting chocolate enthusiast ever pay the price of a full-sized chocolate bar for a 3 millimeter-thin bar of rather low-quality chocolate? It was about as satisfying as smelling a Dorito when in the throes of a salt craving.]

The little boy behind me received somewhat reluctant consent from his mother to purchase a colourful candy. It was, after all, a Saturday night. Time to let the motherly guard down and to allow your kid a little sugar rush.

The candy was a thick yellow tube that resembled a lipstick - but with three little interlocking candy sticks inside. Red. Purple. Orange. Each stick could be individually pushed up and held like a kind of lollipop.

I suddenly regretted that I hadn’t spotted these candies earlier. Now fascinated, I asked the boy’s permission to look at the candy.

Me: Have you tried these before?
Kid: Yeah.
Me: Are they good.
Kid: Yeah. Really good.
Me: So, is it just like a lollipop?
Kid: [Horrified at the suggestion] No. It’s not like a lollipop.
Me: Oh. Okay. Sorry.

His mother gave me a half-scowl. I looked down at my purse. Then the boy turned to me.

Kid: Why are you so interested in the candy? Do you have a son at home?

Me? Have a son? Do I *look* old enough to have a son?

Sure, I’ve been biologically old enough for about a decade and a half now. And half my friends have already produced fruit from their wombs. But nobody has ever suggested to me before that I look old enough.

I resisted the urge to ask everyone behind me in line to guess my age. I felt a sudden desperate need for affirmation that I couldn’t possibly be old enough to be out of school and I could definitely pass for someone who is of the appropriate age to enjoy candy and hang out at the mall. And furthermore, I certainly don’t look like someone who is old enough to even think about having a mortgage, or paying tax, or producing babies.

I always predicted this would happen:

I looked like a child throughout my young adulthood- My *real* ID was very embarrassingly and publicly turned down at the now defunct Shark City club. The bouncer smirked and said, "yeah, that’s a good one. Sure, you’re 20."

And then the second I reached a stage where it is was no longer desirable to look older than my age, I suddenly started looking far beyond my years.

Positive sides: Discount days at Shoppers Drug Mart and kind offers of seats on public transit?


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