“Am I too old to do coke?” I mumbled the question to my friend Joe.
“What, Love?” He says, taking a long drag from his cigarette, as he is perched on the edge of his picnic table.
“Am I too old to do cocaine?” I mumbled again, ashamed I am even asking this question.
“What? You are going to have to use that big mouth of yours and speak up.”
“Am I too old to do…”
“Yes!” He exclaimed, adding a slight self-satisfied giggle.
“Ok, but hear me out, why?”
I continued to explain to Joe that I had never experienced hard drugs, not only had I never experienced drugs, I had friends in high school that were actually high on coke, while I was in their presence, the nerve, I continued. As he and I drove around L.A., the sun beating down on my face, I began to wonder what why I felt so ancient. It wasn’t just my lack of drug use, it was the fact that the drug use widow has passed me by. In my mind I have always felt 27, yes, I have a 20-year-old and yes, I make adult decisions every day, but I feel and look way younger than my years. We got to Joe’s appointment and I am left with a few hours to myself, to wonder around L.A.
I am still a bit peeved at Joe for not believing that my young, nubile body could not handle an insignificant bump of blow. As I walked around, I began to quickly feel overheated, I have worn the wrong outfit for the weather, in my day it was never this hot. I decide to walk into a coffee shop to get some liquid sustenance. Slightly out of breath, I limp over to the cashier to order some lemonade, I then realized I picked the wrong shoes as well. The cashier is wearing what appeared to be some sort-of lingerie top with a pair of what my daughter called “mom jeans” but what I called “jeans”. She had multi-colored hair and about twelve piercings on her face.
“Boy this weather is something eh?” She glared at me, unresponsive.
“Ummmm, do you guys have lemonade?” I asked because I am unable to understand or read the font that is on the menu. Understanding at that moment, I need bi-focal glasses.
“Ok, I’m non-binary, sooo, not a guy.” She said in a flat uncaring voice.
Embarrassed, I looked around for a sympathetic face, not one could be seen.
“Sorry, you’re non-binary, that’s cool, lemonade, do you have it, and if so can I get it?”
“We have still and fizzy.” She glared at me, waiting to know how to proceed.
“I’ll take fizzy and a large please.”
I left the coffee place, mortified and broke after paying nearly seven dollars for a shitty beverage, I was truly grumpy. Why was the universe being so unjust to me today? First no cocaine, then am I shamed by a coffee “them”. Everything was garbage and I could not figure out why. I felt old and so uncool. I looked at my phone and saw a text from Joe saying he should be out in a few. I knew this was my last chance to, one, find a place to score some cocaine and prove Joe wrong or two, prove to myself in some other ludicrous way that I am indeed still 27. I glanced around looking for the nearest store front. I slipped into a store, not exactly knowing where I just stepped but as I turned around a lovely woman, who also looked prepubescent, asked if I needed assistance.
“Yes, what store is this?”
“This is Goodwill.”
“Oh, I’m from Oregon, we don’t have those there.” I lied with confidence knowing that most Californians will believe anything an earnest Oregonian spew.
“Annnd, how old are you?”
Bingo! My mind is clicking and clacking like I just hit the double cherry payout. I started slowly; I didn’t want to alarm this darling fawn. I began to ask her everything about her life, what she does for fun, who she dates, everything about her life has been given to me as a gift from the age Gods. In the 10 minutes we talked, she questions several of her life decisions, including but not limited to her boyfriend, her girlfriend and her choice in breed of dog. I intently listened and offered advice when asked, which it never was asked. I left the thrift store, overwhelmed by a true person of 27 years. As I walked back to the car to meet Joe, I contemplated everything about my real age. My actual life, my actual years lived on this planet. In that moment, I felt content. I felt content knowing that I had raised good, decent citizens. Content in knowing that I completed my hard-fought marriage. Content that I had built a cache of ride or die friends. I closed my eyes and relaxed my neck, I pointed my face upward toward the sun, letting the sun roast my skin, perhaps, I thought to myself, I’ll do cocaine when I’m 60.