Smile Politely

Get off my lawn, kids!

Now that I’m officially all grown up, I’m rather looking forward to being a cranky old lady who shakes her finger while yelling at those pesky neighborhood kids. Having a few days to reflect on what else it means to be forty, I came up with a top ten list. It’s not one of those bucket lists, filled with exotic destinations and future goals, but more of what I’m calling a Fuck It List. And it’s a collection of things I just don’t have to fucking do anymore.

1.  Sit in bad seats at a baseball game. 

After suffering through many games in the upper decks, I’ve recently learned that you can get pretty much anywhere in a ballpark without getting stopped and asked to show your tickets. And when you move to better seats, the game isn’t only more exciting because you can actually see the players, but also because you feel so naughty doing it. Being lodged between children and annoyingly loud college girls does not have to be your fate. Take a risk. If you don’t end up ashamed and humiliated by the real ticket owners when they show up, you can give yourself a big W for the day.

2. Drink weak ass shots.

After last week’s baseball game, we stopped for a beer at our hotel’s bar. The tender was pouring some shots when I returned from the bathroom. Apparently, in my absence, she learned it was my birthday. Big cups of what looked like Hawaiian Punch were set in front of us, and we uneasily smiled and thanked the large-chested-southern-Illinois woman before throwing back several uncomfortable swallows of Red. Yuck. When she asked how it was, I had to ask what it was … cherry vodka, pineapple juice, and grenadine. Did she think it was my 21st birthday? Trying to impress us, she proclaimed, “You didn’t even taste the alcohol, did you?” Um, yeah … and that was kinda the problem. She didn’t get it; we closed our tab and moved on.

3. Travel to the top of the St. Louis Arch.

With our sugar levels soaring, we went up to our room to finish the Schlafly’s we bought before the game. Our room had a beautiful view overlooking the Gateway to the West. As interesting as it was to gaze upon the architecturally unique structure, we both agreed that going up to the top of that thing is just fucked up … I can barely handle long elevator rides without some degree of panic. So, fuck you, Arch. 

4. Ride on things that spin.

This one hasn’t come up recently, but with the exception of a good washing machine, my days of riding things that spin are completely over. Living with two Tilt-A-Whirl-aged boys and a fair coming to town, all parties involved should know there will be no negotiating on this one. I can’t even ride on a carrousel, so those messed up carnie rides, run by those messed up carnies, are completely out of the question. 

5. Attend a major outdoor music festival.

Although festivals used to drive my summers, one scarring Bonnaroo trip cured me of my desire to ever return, regardless of who’s playing. I do believe I’m still suffering from PTSD caused by overflowing Port-O-Potties, sun poisoning, and the inability to exit the festival without literally pulling up stakes and moving other campers’ tents. Summer Camp a few years later was a bit better, but if I drink all day I can’t sleep through the night without getting up to pee, and squatting next to my tent at 4:00 in the morning when there are still a bunch of dirty hippies roaming around like zombies just doesn’t do it for me anymore.

6. Buy something out of guilt.

Speaking of squatting, I have a friend who feels obligated to buy something every time she stops to pee in a gas station bathroom. A few years ago I bought an awful and expensive bracelet from a gypsy because my husband was taking a twenty-minute dump in the private bathroom of her little shop. I’m over feeling guilty about using people’s bathrooms. If I have to go, I’m gonna go. And I’m gonna leave my wallet in the car, dammit.

7. Leave a doctor’s office without the prescription I went there to get.

My recent course of antibiotics seemed to clear me up pretty well, but I have a lot of anxiety picturing a handful of dirty bugs still laughing and partying in my lungs … little fuckers. Going out of town soon, I panicked at the thought of getting sick and not being able to get my fix. I was able to convince the doctor, who was reluctant to prescribe a second course of drugs, to put another round on hold, just in case. Now I’m interested in seeing what else I can convince these guys to prescribe, especially those under forty.

8. Make a list of ten things when I can only think of seven.

In my newfound wisdom, I’ve learned that I’m a custom model. Breaking the mold means breaking the rules. And breaking the rules means challenging society’s norms. And challenging society’s norms means feeling more alive. Who decided a top ten list has to have ten things, anyway? Fuck it.

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