I knew I was getting old when I no longer thought it embarrassing to be carded but rather complimentary. As an Asian who looked 8 when officially 21, I remember having to pull out my I.D. all throughout my 20’s. It was just accepted that I would be asked. Then when I got to the top of the aging hill, I began to realize that those requests were fewer and fewer. This is especially true after having two children who did their proper job in aging me in more ways than one. Now if someone asks, I’m less ready to hand it over. It is officially taken as a compliment, much to my chagrin.
Lately though, there must be a crackdown on underage drinking or I need to stop singing B96 songs out loud because it seems to be occurring more often than usual. This morning while shopping for essentials (milk, fruit, WINE, you know, the usual) at Costco, it happened again. Most times people just look and hand it back. Not this time. The cashier shockingly shouted, “WOW! Oh my gosh, I wasn’t expecting that!!” I smiled as all of Costco looked my way, “I’ll take that as a compliment.” “Yeah! I’m ’82 (birth year) but WOW.”
Her reaction kind of helped me forget two nights earlier when someone called me “Ma’am” more than once. He was friendly about it, but after the 3rd time, I almost smacked him. (Not really. I only have violent tendencies in fictitious scenarios in my mind.) It might have been acceptable had he been a 15 y/o camp counselor or a mid-20’s Starbucks barista. Instead, he was looking at least a decade older than I and was wearing mom jeans. Now, come on….ma’am? I don’t think so.
Despite the ma’am calling, the carding continues. Today’s Costco cashier made me think of Pearl Cream commercials. If you also remember these classics, then I have every right to call you ma’am. If you are too young to know of them, you have permission to call me ma’am four times in one conversation. Please, take a minute to watch one here. Obviously, this was in a time when Oriental was not considered an insult when describing anything but rugs and food. My mom still lives there sometimes, and I have to bring her up to date (“It’s ASIANS, mom, not Orientals.”) It was marketing genius to have us ageless Asians advertise for age-defying beauty products. However, where were the brains in naming it something with two “R’s” and an “L” together? My mama may not be able to say its name properly, but she can look 20 years younger than yo mama!
Pearl Cream is just the tiny harmony that I am choosing to focus on despite a loud melody of cacophonous sounds lately. I may need extra jars of the product after these whirlwind days and weeks age me some more. Even if I pause or crescendo, I know who is ultimately Orchestrating. It’s all good. It’s all good, ma’am.