About three weeks ago a stranger made my day. He mistook me for a college junior. I'm 28.
"Victory!" I thought to myself (OK...and aloud). "Botox is still decades away!" (That last thought remained strictly in my head.)
For the rest of the night I was beaming from ear-to-ear just thinking about how damn youthful I must've looked all college-coed like in my weekend uniform of skinny jeans, ankle boots and T-shirt couture.*
Then I went home.
As I cleansed my mouth of the aftertaste of the night's beverages (the burn of Listerine never felt so refreshing), I looked up to admire my newly noticed youthful features. Uh...what is that...what the hell is that? A wrinkle?! I took a closer look and realized for the first time the lines that are only visible when I smile will soon be permanent. Damn it all to hell. Nascent they may be, but wrinkles they still are. Not very college-coed-like.
It was then that I realized I am probably often mistaken for being younger than I am because of my general attitude toward life, rather than my appearance. While (hopefully) I look slightly younger than "almost 30," it was probably my staunch refusal to act "almost 30" or almost 40 or 50 or 60 that led to my delightful, yet so very imaginary return to college earlier that evening.
In DC, however, I often find myself thinking people are older than they are. I've run into 20-somethings who act (and dress) middle-aged. Whether it's the old-man Dockers on 25-year-olds or the misconception that "being a grown-up" means you have to give up anything remotely non-serious in your life, including sense of humor, spontaneity and general personality, DC has found itself with a giant proverbial stick embedded in its collective ass. It's like the entire city is set in a permanent up-do upheld by two bottles of AquaNet. That sh*t won't budge.
Yet all hope is not lost. To stick with my unfortunate metaphor for one last tortured statement, hair can always be fixed (OK, I'll stop...). But seriously, there seems to be enough people in DC (and the blogs to match) that recognize the shortcomings in DC. So what the hell? Why not work together to remove the stick swiftly and permanently?
Let's start by leaving our Blackberrys at home when we go out. And if you simply must have it on your person in your free time, for the love of all things sacred, please, please, please do not adorn it to your belt unless you really are a card-carrying AARP member.
Second, let's lighten up, please. I'll freely admit I have a ragingly immature sense of humor, which falls somewhere in-between South Park and Pee-wee's Big Adventure. While I usually err on the side of inappropriate, DC can stand to laugh at itself little more. And I'm not talking only about having a chuckle about a New Yorker cartoon (although many of them are quite hilarious). No, no, let's regress a little and laugh when someone says "poop" or gets kicked in the nuts.
Lastly, let's all make DC a more liveable place by not being so ridiculous about politics. I get it, you're either red state or blue state and never the two shall meet. Well, I don't care. If you can't see that Pee-wee's antics or Mr. Hanky the Christmas Poo have the power to negate party lines, then you probably need to sit yourself down and really think about the direction your life is headed.
Let's do this, DC. Let's really do this...together.
*A term that first originated on travels through Southeast Asia, referring to any stylish item made out of cotton jersey.