I wouldn’t call it a midlife crisis, exactly. Maybe it’s because I still feel like a twenty-something, only with a little more wisdom. And a few more wrinkles. Oh, and a little more luggage in the trunk, if you know what I mean.
Whatever it’s called, it starts creeping in when you hit that one decade. You’re in between spring chicken and old biddy with the occasional Little Red Hen. You begin to realize that you’re not immortal and that not only are there things you will never do, but there are things you should never do.
Rock climbing, for me, is one of those things. While hanging from a sheer rock face by a cable the size of a drinking straw makes some people feel alive, I’m too busy worrying about being dead. I’ve seen those rocks down there, and I have a keen interest in keeping my britches off of them. Besides, any activity that can’t be done with a mocha in one hand is pretty much out just on principle.
Another thing I will never do is ride the Starship 2000 at the county fair. Never again, that is. The Starship 2000, see, is a ride that spins so fast, you are pinned to the wall by centrifugal force.
I don’t know what I was thinking when I allowed the boys to hornswoggle me into it. As I fought to keep from sharing the egg rolls I’d just eaten with our fellow passengers, they were sporting enormous smiles. Of course, it could’ve just been the G force pinning the corners of their lips to their earlobes. I couldn’t be sure, but just as I was about to lose the battle, it finally stopped.
Rule number two for middle-age activities: Anything that shaves five years off my life span in one sharp whack will not be repeated. Ever.
I’ve come to grips with the fact that I’ll never be invited to Buckingham Palace to dine with the queen. It hurts, but I’m nothing if not realistic.
It’s those boys.
I doubt that Charles and Andrew, the little princes, were allowed to slide down banisters or play Keep Away in the parlor. I’m sure they never smeared grape jelly on the tapestries or spilled milk into the carpets, but that’s what would happen if the Schrocks went to London to visit the queen. She knows it, too, and that’s why no invitation has been forthcoming.
It’s sad, really, because I have a feeling we’d get along famously. I would curtsy daintily and crook my pinky just so. She would sniff disdainfully over the American love affair with coffee and extol the virtues of English tea. I would work on cracking that English reserve and coaxing a belly laugh (probably the first) from Her Majesty, and the boys would be outdoors, working on the palace guards.
Oh, those guys are good. They’re real good, but they haven’t met our tribe. It might take awhile, but by the time our taxi pulled up, the queen would be cackling and dabbing her eyes, and the guards would be slapping their knees. Palace tensions would drop, and a fresh wind would blow across the land.
Okay. This could happen, but it never will. That queen doesn’t know what she’s missing, that’s all I’m saying.
At my age, I’ve given up on being an Olympian. I run in one place too long. I’d get lapped in the 100-yard dash.
I can’t skate, speed or otherwise. Besides, to be a champion figure skater, you have to have a certain figure. Putting a 43-year-old one into spandex is just a bad idea.
I can’t dive. Well, I can belly flop, but all that would net me is zeroes from the judges and a sore belly. I’m just not up for that.
I can curl, alright – right into a fetal position after the umpteenth tussle by the offspring, but that doesn’t fit the parameters of curling Olympic style. Until they sanction diaper changing, the Games are out for me.
The rodeo is another big “never.” Dodging furry creatures with bad breath that have horns on one end and flying hooves on the other is too much excitement. It sounds uncomfortably like the crowd that stampedes down the stairs every morning in search of breakfast. If only I had a professional clown to divert the cranky ones, it would really help.
I have no need to do something as radical and daring as swimming with the sharks as some folks do. They pay cash money to swim with these beady-eyed creatures who circle, grinning wickedly with unflossed teeth, just looking for their chance.
Now that I think about it, I live with sharks – sharks of pool, yard, and pantry. They, too, circle, grinning wickedly with unflossed teeth, looking for something to chew.
And that’s about all the adrenaline rush this mother can handle. If you, however, are interested in paying cash money to “feel alive” in your middle age, I’m selling tickets. But you’ll have to bring your own wet suit.