Thursday, July 19, 2007

Age is Just a Number - The Serial is Back! - Vol II

Hi Folks,

For those of you who purchased, reviewed, proof read or commented on the blog posts for Volume I. Volume II is now about to begin.

Well actually the preamble began during NaNoWriMo 2006, however it fell by the wayside. So I’m now getting back to the vehicle that helped me create the first volume: blogging!

So every Thursday, I’ll begin posting the latest or edits of the previous chapter.

So without further ado, here’s the preamble - (Unedited so please don’t hold that against me):

Thursday, November 1, 2006, 8:00 p.m.

I never thought I’d be one of those twenty-five … again folk because I’m so grateful to be here, plus I’m so used to folk saying, “You have a twenty-one-year-old daughter? Stop playing!” that I got caught out there when it happened:

There I was minding my own business standing outside of the neighborhood Wal*Mart when the words I thought I’d never hear were spoken, “Excuse me ma’am?”

Ensconced in the surety that I wasn’t the one being addressed, I kept on searching, my eyes peeled for the “I heart Jesus” license plate that would signal the approach of my brother-in-law’s van when the words came again, “Ma’am, ahem, excuse me ma’am?”

Annoyed now that whoever was being addressed was being so rude, I whipped my head around to give that person the evil eye, when directly in my line of vision was a teenager looking hopefully at me.

I looked past him, sure that he needed my help to gain the attention of said ma’am, but alas there was no one close enough to us to whom he could have been referring but … me!

Pushing the ramifications of that to the back of my mind I focused on the stocky teenager as I asked, “Were you talking to me?”

“Yes, ma’am.” He answered. “Do you know what time the next whirly bird (our local bus) will be coming?”

After a quick glance at my watch, I pointed to the left and said, “The next bus will be by in fifteen minutes, but you’re standing in the wrong spot, the bus stop was recently moved you need to go down there, where all the other people are standing.” And in full parental mode I added, “Do you have exact change for the bus? It’s fifty cents to ride one way and two dollars if you need to transfer.”

“Thanks, ma’am, I’m good.” He said then jogged on down to where the other bus riders were lined up.

Now that he was gone, I could safely pull out that word and examine it. In less than five minutes, I’d been addressed as Ma’am four times … count it … four times. Yes, I know there are weightier issues, the upcoming elections, the plight of the poor, Jesus’ return – I get that but you see Ma’am just isn’t me.

I’m the cool parent, the one my daughter’s friends wanted to hang with. The one who had so much stamina she could dance all the teens under the table, show them how to do round offs, cartwheels or flips without batting an eye. Attend dance classes with teens and hit that split with nary a problem.

Ma’am is some overweight, forty-something woman, who’s not down with the slang of the day, has no clue as to the latest clothing or hairdo trends, wears shoes for comfort instead of to enhance the shape of her legs and doesn’t care if she’s wearing make-up or not.

I looked down at myself, cool boots—check, bootleg cut jeans—check, passed my hand through my locs—check, looked at my coat—okay X, licked my unvarnished lips—okay X … again, slang meter—check, weight—okay X, age—okay X again.

So by my own meter, created when I was ooooh about his age, I’d unknowingly metamorphosed into “Ma’am!”

What can I do to reverse that? When did it happen? Was it when I moved from New York to Pennsylvania? In my attempt to fit in had I compromised on my citified edginess?

I mean, just three years ago, I was the famous “Divine” of Age is Just a Number: Adventures in Online Dating fame. Younguns were coming out of my ears… well not sixteen year-olds … (don’t wanna get reported for child abuse … LOL) but twenty was not at all a stretch. Of course I verbally spanked them and sent them back to their mamas, but still … there was no “ma’am” on the horizon.

Is this what turning forty is about? If so … who do I have to annoy, bribe or pay to get off this rollercoaster to the land of decline?

Seriously though, I am thankful for every year that I’m here, for at fourteen with the onset of bipolar disorder I was ready to end it all, but for God’s intervention. However, how do I deal with the in-between stage in which I now find myself?

To hear me tell it, I’m still a hip, happening fool, however, when I use slang in her presence, my daughter quickly says, “Umm, mom … please don’t do that again.” Or when I attempt to go exercise in exercise clothes (brilliant blue spandex with a sweat shirt no less) she bars the door and asks, “You’re not going outside like that, are you?” When did spandex (exercise clothing) become déclassé?

Well, if this is what turning forty-one has in store for me … I would rather reminisce a bit more. After all my past had much to recommend it: not only was I thirty-seven and thinner–everyone (the men and young men, i.e.) thought I was only twenty-five and were not shy in approaching me. What? I’m not kidding. Grabbing the journal:

My journal remembers…

Monday, April 21, 2003, 10:15 p.m.

MEANWHILE, back at BV, I finally got around to reading the other note I’d received. After the disappointing outcome of my first attempt at dating, I was happy to see the words angel and music included in his alias, although the lost part made me wonder if I’d have to dig a lot to find him—or maybe he was looking for himself?

My fanciful imaginings aside, I clicked on the link and read the email. Well, let me tell you, it more than made up for the trespasses of Pete! It was complimentary without being effusive and poetic without making me gag.

He wanted to know how he could get to know me and if I would give him a moment of my time. I quickly looked up his profile and found that he was into music as well! A Christian to boot, but no pic—durn!

I continued reading. He had a management company and worked with Christian artists only. He had a link to his site which I, of course, clicked on. Upon viewing the site, I was impressed by his professionalism and straightforward, no holds barred attitude. That’s what I’m talking about, I said to myself, as I broke out in goose pimples.

I returned to his BV profile to get some more personal details. Six feet one inch, 185 lbs, Puerto Rican/Jamaican ancestry (waaa hooo) age 25, location, GA … Hol’ up! Twenty-five? Was that a typo? The three is right next to the two … maybe he hit two by accident—and when did twenty-five-year-olds start sounding so mature? Must be a typo.

I thought about it for a bit, did the math three times, but the outcome equaled a twelve-year difference every time. Must be a typo.

Well, only one way to find out. I penned an appreciative response, then segued to my main area of concern… the age thingy. Amid much kudos about the site and his witnessing I slipped in the question—“was that a typo?”—in such a way that it was quite clear that twenty-five was cute and sweet, but not in the running.

Strangely enough, I received no reply.

I checked back the next day and the day after that … nothing. In the meantime I re-read the email and his BV page, and you know what? After the third or fourth re-read, twenty-five was starting to not sound so harsh. Heck, I don’t even look thirty! (Or so folk keep telling me). He sounded so mature, and most importantly, he was a Christian and proud of it.

I re-read my response, and it did sound kind of condescending. So I sent another note, apologizing if I’d offended—I’d been caught off guard by the age thing. I guess that was the ticket, because a response came in mere seconds after I hit “send.”

He accepted my apology, and in essence told me not to get caught up in numbers, since age, after all, is just a number. He also included a few other numbers: his phone number at work…

Dang, I hate it when men do that… put the ball in my court by divulging their number first. I think it’s a new fangled strategy where they appear to be putting us in the driver’s seat, so that we feel safe or empowered. Personally, I just think it’s laziness on their part.

That occurred at 10:00 a.m. I spent an hour dithering over a promotional mailing to the subscribers on my mailing list, telling myself that I really wasn’t going to call. What would be the point? His age had been confirmed as a non-typo.

By 11:20 a.m. I was dialing the phone number. I got a voice mail for someone named Christine and dropped the phone like a sixteen year old. Dang, I’d already begun regressing. I’d swept right past twenty-five to arrive at sixteen.

Pressing the phone receiver against my hot cheeks while berating myself (you are soooo sad), I composed myself and redialed the number. This time I left a message stating that the message was for Bachelor Music Angel, and left my phone number.

I spent the next twenty minutes working frenetically. I jumped at every car horn outside my office window. Finally, the phone rang. Just to be sure, I answered it in my business voice: “Div’s Book Nook.”

It was him! He sounded so cute—voice all soft, sweet and melodious. We talked for about thirty minutes and then I had to take a business call. I promised to call him back.

Business taken care of, I returned his call. Twenty minutes into that conversation, he had to go. He then called me back. I asked him if all this phone time wouldn’t be a problem, and he said he was cool. He was just on a subcontract assignment while someone was out. (Okay … that explained the Christine on the voice mail.)

Next I addressed the fact that he had no picture on his profile. He told me that he used to have one up, but got too many crazy emails so he took it down.

Alrighty then! “So how does a sistah go about seeing one of those make-a-woman-lose-her-mind pics?” I asked.

He chuckled, “Just ask and it shall be given unto you.” Ooooh … Biblical flirting! I can get with this! I thought to myself. We continued chatting, while I waited for the pics to hit my inbox.

To Be Continued…

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