As I looked in the mirror this morning I had to take a second look just to recognize the person staring back at me. Exactly when did I get old?
It seems like just yesterday I was 30 and getting carded to buy an R-rated movie. Now I'm pushing 40 and my license has dust on it because apparently only the nice police officer wants to see it nowadays.
The signs have been there, I've just been too stubborn to see them.
The gray hair that used to show up a few times a year now is now spreading through my beard like chicken pox in an elementary school and is heading straight for my thinning hair.
At least I have hair. Some people my age are fighting hair loss like it is a disease. They see both witch and medical doctors, buy special shampoos from late night television and wear baseball caps everywhere they go. Others just gave up and shaved their heads and try to compensate by growing facial hair.
I'm not so worried about losing my hair, it's my mind I'm worried about losing.
Suddenly I find myself forgetting things. Just the other day I opened the refrigerator and stared for five minutes trying to remember what I was wanting. It isn't like I had a lot of options either. Other than the expired mustard bottle all I have in the refrigerator was sweet tea, cheese and yogurt.
I'm also forgetting words, which becomes a problem with my job. The other day I couldn't remember what a paper machine was called.
"You know, that red contraption you sit outside and have to put money in to open the door and grab a newspaper?"
I wish it was just one instance. My girlfriend asked me for a washcloth the other day and I couldn't even tell her where they were.
"Umm at the end of the hall there is a door that if you open it has shelves and that's where I put them."
"You mean the closet?"
"Well if you have to give it a name you can call it that."
I looked for my glasses the other day for 20 minutes. I looked under the couch, in bathrooms, in the car, in the mailbox and in the refrigerator. They were nowhere to be found so I figured I left them at work. So I got in my car to check at work and pulled my glasses out of my shirt pocket and put them on. Then I drove halfway to work before I realized my stupidity.
To make matters worse, I then announced to my empty vehicle, that "I knew where my glasses were, I was just going to the store." Now I'm even talking to imaginary people.
I also have started making old man noises. I know what you're thinking and no, not those noises. Well, OK, maybe those noises, but I'm talking about the grunts and groans.
I sit in my recliner, "ahhhhhh."
I get out of my recliner, "oooohhhh."
I squat down to pick up a pencil and it sounds like somebody is stomping on bubble wrap.
Then I have to gather myself before I even try to get up. "Ahhh, oooh, ahhh, oooh."
That's when I actually bend down. I'm learning how to use my toes to pick things up to avoid squatting.
I wish it stopped there. I wake up before the sun most days no matter what time I went to sleep. I slept in the other day and woke up at 7:30 a.m. My dogs were checking my pulse to make sure I was still alive and were ready to give mouth-to-mouth. Or maybe they were just planning their next meal if I didn't wake up.
I used to have days when I got in at sunup but now when the clock strikes 10 I want to be home to watch the news. Of course, I usually nod off by the first commercial and then wake up every two hours to use the bathroom.
I even find myself looking at kids and shaking my head. Sometimes I can't even understand them. I used to be hip and able to carry on a conversation with teens and not think anything about it. The other night I was talking to my girlfriend's daughter and her friend. As they were leaving her friend kept saying "deuces." I looked like a deer in headlights. What did twos have to do with anything? I had to Google it to find out it meant see you later.
I need to learn the lingo because at this rate I am going to end up back at the kids table, with a bald head and a diaper.
"Could you pass me the, ummm, stuff that was made from a dead pig?"
I'm not ready for that so I intend to fight it every step of the way. First thing I'm going to do is buy some hair dye and a slang dictionary. Now if I could just find my glasses so I can get the store. Ahhh crap.
Oh well, until next time, "twos."