4th of July buzzkill

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

This weekend I discovered that I am, in fact, getting older. If it wasn’t already noticeable by my disdain of current pop music or my sudden affinity towards “sensible pants”, I might have been alarmed. But finding out that I’m getting older wasn’t so much of a surprise as it was just really, really depressing.


Last night (the 4th of July), I was trying to fall asleep at the reasonable hour of 11:00 p.m. You see, I was offered almost full-time hours at my current publishing job (much to my excitement and gratitude as I will no longer have to work two jobs and sit hunched over my computer coloring freelance projects until 10 o’clock every night), and my body is in no shape to wake up before 9 a.m. (Please don’t judge me. I haven’t worked regular office hours since November). So I was lying in bed, like a responsible adult, watching Family Guy on our bedroom TV and attempting to nod off. However, just as I was about to drift off to Slumber City, a bottle rocket whizzed right past our bedroom window and exploded somewhere dangerously close to our balcony.

“Are you kidding me?” I whined to no one in particular as I huffily got up and went to look out the window. I couldn’t see anyone, so I just crawled back into bed.

Not even five minutes later, a firecracker detonated by the side of our house. Okay, no more Miss Nice Girl. I threw myself out of bed, marched out the room, and flung open the door to our back porch. I stood in my jammies, arms crossed, and scowled at the boy and girl running back and forth on the sidewalk below. I watched their lighter flicker to life as they prepared another bottle rocket for take-off. After their firework finished bursting into flames, I did the unthinkable.

“YOU REALIZE PEOPLE HAVE TO WORK IN THE MORNING, RIGHT!?” I screamed (not just shouted, but screamed) down at the couple who, after watching them for a few minutes, I realized were probably my age.

Oh my gosh. I still can’t believe I did that. Visions of myself as an old woman yelling at kids to keep off my grass suddenly flashed before my eyes, far more vivid than I care to admit. Words like “Old Maid” and “hag” also came to mind. But it gets worse …

“Um, okay,” the girl half of the couple replied, just a little too snottily for my taste.

“Darn, inconsiderate kids!” I shouted back even louder. And did I mention that these people looked like they were my age?

I slammed the porch door shut, walked past a bewildered Clayton sitting on the couch, and went back into our bedroom. It took me several seconds to calm myself down and judging by how rapidly my heart was beating, you’d think that I just ran a marathon or was chased by a ferocious bear. I thought maybe I stressed myself out because I absolutely hate confrontation and cannot stand having to yell at anyone, but then I realized that I was freaking out because I was in shock that I just took a dump on someone’s good time.

Just call me Mrs. Buzzkill.

But Clayton’s just as bad, if not worse.

All weekend long our neighborhood was getting happy with the fireworks, but it didn’t bother me on Saturday night because I didn’t have to get up super early the next day. After I went to bed that night, I continued to hear bottle rockets in the not-too-far distance, but like I said, I didn’t really care. However, after several minutes of dozing, I heard the porch door open and shut. Suddenly, the sounds of bombs bursting in air ceased and all was quiet. Not thinking anything of it, I turned over and fell asleep.

On Sunday morning when Clay and I were eating breakfast I asked him, “Did the fireworks bother you last night?”

“Not for long,” he said around a mouthful of cereal.

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“Nothing,” he said defensively. “I just put a stop to it before it got out of hand.”

I sighed. “What did you do?”

“I took care of it.”

“Clayton, what did you do?”

“I threw apples at them until they stopped.”

“You are unbelievable,” I said, getting up for the table.

Clayton didn’t say anything for a second. Then he replied, “Can you go the grocery store today? We’re out of apples.”

*****

But I wasn’t a crotchety old woman all weekend long. Saturday morning I participated in my second 5K race (my 5th race overall this year) and got a PR (personal record). I ran a 5K last month and finished with a time of 27:36 (or something close to that) which I guess isn’t too terrible considering it was the hilliest 5K ever! This Saturday I completed the 3.1 miles in 25:12, which gave me a time of 8:08/mile. I was pretty pleased, even though the woman who got the best time in my age group finished around 21 minutes and some change. Definitely gives me something to work towards in the future!

And I came to the conclusion that no matter what race it is and no matter how well I think I've prepared for it, I will always have a mini panic attack right before this start gun goes off and I will always, ALWAYS have some sort of gastrointestinal distress before, during, or after the race. That's what happens to my body when it gets scared. It's a hard, gross truth I've come to accept.

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