Last month, one month ago today to be exact, I turned a big whopping 38. I know, right? The number is just so overwhelming. Like, I'm gonna be 40. Any minute. Well in two years, but still. Forty. (Shudder.) That's, like, old. My mom turned 40 the year I got engaged to Ubes. Weird, right?
So anyhoo. I am a sneeze away from 40, but deep down inside I still feel like a kid. I still laugh at fart jokes and get excited about going to Disneyland and occasionally stamp my feet when I don't get my way. Sooooo not the behavior of an almost 40 year old.
A few years ago Dee was telling me how she was going to host Thanksgiving at her house for Schlampe's family. She was going to make a big turkey with stuffing and mashed potatoes and yams and green bean casserole and the whole enchilada. And I remember looking at her in awe and saying "Wow. That is such a grown up thing to do." And she nodded nervously and said "I know." There we both were, married with kids and mortgages and everything, and being a grown up meant cooking a turkey dinner.
So today I had a grown up moment of my own. I had to go downtown. Yes, with the big buildings and stuff. When I was little, I would sometimes go downtown with my Grandma to run an errand. She would get all dressed up and put on pink lipstick. I wore jeans, black Converse and MAC lipglass. Times have changed, Grandma.
I'm not going to lie to you. I was nervous. I hate going downtown. I hate the one way streets and the traffic and the homeless people. Wait, I mean I don't hate the homeless people. I hate seeing them. I hate how they make my heart feel heavy and how I wonder when they last ate and if they are too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter and why don't they have families who will help them. See? Codependent, party of one please.
So where was I? Oh, right. Downtown.
The only time I ever go is for a sporting event, and then I always have Ubes with me. But there I was, all by myself, cruising down the freeway towards all those streets named after presidents, and wondering where in aych ee double ell I was going to park. Because without that mustached guy in a wife beater waiving me in with an orange flag and holding out his hand for a ten dollar bill . . . dude I have no idea what to do. Isn't that sad? I am a 38 year old woman who has never used a parking meter. And I suck at parallel parking. I mean jeez, I suck at regular parking. Me trying to go parallel is just a You Tube moment waiting to happen, you know?
So after driving around the block four times, I finally saw an open meter with a wide enough space where I wasn't going to humiliate myself. I didn't even have to reverse and straighten it out. I am so awesome! I stood there staring at the meter for a few seconds wondering if it only accepted quarters or what. And you see, there are no instructions. They don't make it easy on you. They just assume you are not a dumb ass and have put money in a meter before. Which made me feel like even more of a dumb ass. So what did I do? I copied off the guy next to me. I watched him nonchalantly slip coins in the back of the meter. The back, duh! Why isn't there an arrow or a sign or something? Someone needs to come out with "Parking Downtown for Dummies." It would be huge.
I fed my quarters in the back, hoping it was going to be enough for the ten minutes I needed to run my errand, looked around to see if anyone was laughing at the moron who didn't know how to feed a meter, high fived the homeless guy watching me and then skipped off down the street. When I came out, my car was still there and I had like an hour left on the meter. That's right. Don't say I never pay it forward. And whom ever was fortunate enough to get that space after me, you are welcome!
So yeah. I went downtown all by my big girl self today. I feel like a grown up bad ass. I just might be ready to attempt a whole turkey dinner. But minus the yams and green been casserole. Because those are just icky.