Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Say What? The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

I drove around to pick up my Cub Scouts for one last trip before school. We were going fishing and I had one new boy to pick up. I met his dad at the door as well as his younger sister and baby brother.

While father and son were scrambling to find hat/sunscreen/etc., I had a chat with the sister.

"How old are you?"

"I'm five!"

"Are going to school this year?"

"No, in two years I'm going to first grade!" (What happened to kindergarten, I wonder?)

"How old is your little brother?"

"He's just one."

I stroke the pet cat for a minute while she chases her little brother around the living room. The girl comes back.

"I like the patches on your shirt."


And then comes the bombshell...

"How old are you?"

She and I are the only people in the room. I wonder if I should be vague or give some non-answer. But I'm in a Scout Leader uniform. I take a little breath and let her have it.

"I'm 40."

Her eyes open wide as saucers and she says, "Whoa!"

And when she said that, I finally felt that I was, in fact, forty years old, not just "thirty and some change". It wasn't necessarily a bad feeling, but it was kind of like hearing the universe telling me to "act your age". For a moment, I imagined seeing myself from the outside and it wasn't the person my twenty year old self expected. The next moment I realized my twenty year old self hadn't really known WHAT to expect.

It was downright weird.

I didn't have long to dwell on it, because the new kid was finally ready and we had to go pick up the others. I forgot all about that moment when all the boys were in the water flinging chicken livers on bits of string to attract elusive crawdads.

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