I am taking in the splendor of the majestic mountains, trekking across ice fields, marveling at the natural wonders. I’ve seen bear cubs at play, elks grazing, big horn sheep and Ospreys.
But what I’ve mostly seen…is that I’m old.
It all started when I went to buy gear for the trip. In the Patagonia store in Manhattan, the cute, 20-something guy who was selling me the ultra expensive jackets and packs I could have gotten online at Lands End for much cheaper was talking about what I’d need while I was camping. Camping? I laughed. On no, I’ll be hiking, but then I’ll be retiring to my four star hotel with a hot shower and a fluffy pillow for my tired head.
Yeah, he replied. My mom is like that too.
I supposed that, were this Medieval England, or the Deep South in 1937, I could be this guys mother. But this is 2008 New York. And I use Glycolic Acid wipes, I work out, I joined Facebook. Surely I didn’t remind him of his MOM????? It wasn’t like I was flirting with him. I wasn’t pretending that he thought I was anything other than a customer about to drop a bunch of money on a bunch of stuff….but neither did I think he thought I looked like his MOTHER.
Then, here in Canada, a similar event. On a group trip to a waterfall and cave, the guide called all of the “younger” women by their first names without question. Me? Mrs. Friedman, no matter how many times I tried to get him to do otherwise. It was kinda like how I used to be with old friends’ parents who wanted me to switch to using their first names. Uhhhhhhh. No.
And it’s not just other people. Yesterday, my two kids scrambled up the precarious rocks at Moraine Lake (breathtaking, no?) before my husband and I even reached the base of the pile. I tried to chase them up, but ended up so winded, they were already halfway down before I reached the top. I tried to chalk it up to altitude…but since I look so much like everyone’s mother, I’m not so sure.
There’s my sudden desire for an afternoon cup of tea. My comfort level walking around in mismatched fleece and jacket just because it’s practical. Pretty soon I’ll be wearing orthopedic shoes and sporting a bad perm.
Could calling salesmen in sporting goods stores “young man” be too far behind?
You’ll notice I called this post – Part I — that’s because something tells me this is only the beginning. Because after all, like everybody else….I’m not getting any younger. Maybe instead I should work on just getting a little thicker skinned.