Touch of Gray

I turned 40 a little more than six months ago. Save the party that was thrown for me, the actual turning of 40 was a non-event. The emotional hand wringing, increased levels of depression, and other forms of anxiety surrounding the dull act of growing older had inexplicably come and gone at 35.

That aside, my first signs of gray started appearing in my mid thirties. I rationalized this early autumnal change in hair color, with the explanation that I possess an unusually high intelligence and maturity level for a man my age, and obviously I needed to look the part. Never mind the fact that I was coming to a point where I would soon have more birthdays under my belt than I had inches in my waistline, I sometimes lie to myself to keep the self-esteem inappropriately high.

Since I turned 40, it seemed like everybody and their mother had something to say about the changing color scheme on my head. Everywhere I turned, “Man! You’ve got a lot of gray!” or “You’re started look old buddy!”, were being tossed my way with reckless abandon. I began to wonder whether or not I was grayer than I actually was. Maybe the gray got grayer once you’d crossed into your 40’s? Maybe there was an unwritten rule that stated that friends, family and acquaintances could just ‘go in’ on your gray? I started to wonder.

The amount of gray on my head didn’t bother me, but what did bother me was this sudden chatter that I should do something about it. Earnest suggestions, that I dye my hair with Just For Men, were affirmed with head nods from my friends while they gazed with pity at this ash ridden domepiece. I always responded that I would never do it, but, maybe it was time to concede to the will of the people.

My vanity is not to be underestimated. These people with their silly cosmetic suggestions were fools! No self-respecting man dyes his hair! I’m not trying to look younger at all. The only thing I need from my youth is my metabolism and my fast twitch muscle response. Otherwise, sing Fun’s “We Are Young” all you want, I don’t mind aging at all, I think I still look good.

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Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number

I’m 40. It’s one of those minor facts that became all too obvious when the wife and I went to see Santigold at the House of Blues a few weeks ago. We go to shows fairly often, but lately, my enthusiasm to pay for and see a good show has waned a bit these last few years.

Part of that dimmed enthusiasm has to do with my lack of willingness to pay a grip of money for a concert ticket, and the other part of it might have to do with, I have a few too many kids to be giving some of these acts my hard earned funds.

That said, when I priced the tickets to see Santigold, they had a general admission price and a premium seating price. This caused a minor dilemma for me, because while the general admission price appealed to my fiscal responsibility, the premium seating price appealed to my preference of sitting to standing. My cheaper tendencies won out, and so the wife and I would head downtown to stand with fans more dedicated than those people in the balcony that were too cool for school.

We knew we didn’t want to see the opening act, so we arrived right as their set ended. We hit the bar, ordered drinks, and negotiated our way as close to the stage as we could get. We found a spot at the edge of the stage right in front of the speakers and waited.

Honestly, I’m not sure why we go to general admission shows where we have to stand, because the closest I’ve come to having a physical altercation with another person are at these kinds of shows. There’s something about the standing, the waiting, the annoying couple making out, the hoping no one grabs your wife’s butt, the being pushed aside by latecomers trying to get in front of you that puts me on edge. Not to mention, standing in front of a stack of speakers for a few hours is murder on my eardrums.

Santigold came out to “Go”, and that’s when a short young lady in a blue wrestling mask and her equally short friend in some kind of fairy god mother costume, complete with green wig, began jumping around to the music. It was odd, it was fun and for some reason it bothered me. Because part of me wanted to jump around and be as goofy and as excited as these two were, and the other part of me wanted to sit down upstairs, gawk at the kids and weirdos for a little bit and leave.

And then I thought, is this what getting older is about? Stepping aside and letting the kids have their moment? Or is it about not caring what other people think when you do something that you are ‘too old’ to be doing? Honestly, I couldn’t tell you, all I know is that after standing for a good hour and a half, I had a Danny Glover moment.