That's exactly what I am. I'm an old, old woman. Like Rose Dawson-at-the-end-of-Titanic-when-she's-throwing-the-diamond-into-the-ocean old. And for some reason I'm trapped inside some random 23-year-old's body.
No, I didn't come to this realization when I was plucking a gray stray out of my head. (Mostly because I've convinced myself that they're just sporadic blondes sprouting up instead of grays.) I came to this undeniable conclusion as I was sipping on straight black coffee at a diner this morning before I went into to work.
For some reason, this morning I had this grand idea to wake up before the rooster crows, primp, watch a little Saved By the Bell: The College Years!, and go to the local diner an hour before I needed to be at work. You know, just in case they'd be busy. Before leaving my house, I grabbed a John Grisham novel to read while I sat and waited for my food. You know, just in case some handsome young fellow found well-read women appealing.
(I'm convinced that's how me and my future husband will meet. He'll find me alone and longing for a stranger at some diner or coffee shop and say, "The novel you're reading definitely tells of your intellectual nature. I'm impressed by your ability to choose work by such an impressive author like Stephanie Meyer, who wrote four coming-of-age fiction novels and one brilliant novella. The Twilight Series is filled with such depth, such suspense! What did you think of the part where Bella's inner turmoil caused her to doubt her outward love and affection for Edward?" And then, after agreeing that Stephanie Meyer was the best author of all time and that we'd raise our kids protestant, he would end with, "Say, little lady, what are you doing for the rest of my life?") Let's just say my imagination has convinced me that I need to spend every other day in a meet-cute scenerio. Hense the coffee shops and diners early on Friday mornings.
Once I entered the diner, I was greeted with a "which of these things is not like the others" sort of look when I made may way into a seat at the bar between two 70-year-olds with chattering false teeth. The waitress took my order - eggs, toast, sausage - and I took to my book, carefully eyeballing every feller (geezer) who walked by. Oh and did I mention that I also ordered RYE toast? What 23-year-old orders rye? I bet half the girls my age don't even know that rye is an option.
Two bites into my decadent rye smothered in apple butter, I had an epiphany - kind of like seeing myself from the outside in. Like I was outside of the diner's retro windows, peering inside to see a hopeless girl alone at the bar. I felt like Ebenezer Scrooge revisiting his ghosts of Christmas pasts. Who was this girl? And when did she turn 98?
Then I realized. Oh. My. Gosh. I have always been this way. An image of eight-year-old Jess scraping her mom's windshield before school every wintery morning flashed before my eyes. Ooo, and an image of Jess setting her alarm for 6 a.m. on her day off to make sure her sister was up for school/work/anything on time. Another of Jess, backpack slung on shoulders, tapping her foot impatiently as her mother and sister were two seconds late for departure for school. And one more of Jess arriving to her first day of work 45 minutes early, pressing the "HALP! LET ME IN" button before any of her coworkers had even started their morning commutes.
After my brief self-actualization, I shoved the rest of the bread into my mouth and made way for the cash register. I tipped a hearty amount - because I wanted to be perceived as young and wealthy. And because old people are way more persnickety about their money than young people.
At that moment, I decided to make a vow. May these grays - er, I mean blondes - no longer grow from my scalp. I am (a young) woman. Hear me ROAR. Look, I even stayed up until 1:07 a.m. on a Friday night. Watch out world, Jessica (or should I go by Jessi. That sounds youthful, right?) is BACK.
Oh jeez, I just referred to a Helen Reddy song and used the words "hearty" and "persnickety" in the past two paragraphs. I'm hopeless.