When we got the keys to the nu haus on Friday, we went over to see it. The daughter of the former owner was packing up some last minute things in her car when we got there, and she seemed pretty friendly. We spoke with her for a few minutes. She couldn’t have been much older than me – maybe 20, probably not over 23.
Then she asked me, “Do you go to Vic High?” because it’s nearby.
Without really thinking about how it would sound, I simply answered, “No.” I didn’t explain that I’d been 19 for the last eight months and that I was attending university. I just said, “No.” A moment later, I noticed how short I had sounded and added, “But my brother does.” I also backed up the lovely first impression I was giving her by saying how much I admired her Mini Cooper. Phew. Wouldn’t want to sound like a bitch to a total stranger I’ll never see again who thought I was a high school kid.
We're having some flooring put in right now, and the flooring installers are very nice: Janus and Janek. The house was full of Polish people on Monday – my grandpa was there, these two very Polish men, and while my mom doesn’t identify as Polish, I’m going to count her in this one to make the numbers look better. The Jans, too, sparked friendly conversation. Very quickly the question of my age arose once again.
“How old are you?” Janek asked. I smiled, knowing perfectly well that my answer would not be one he’d expect.
“19,” I replied.
“19!” he exclaimed. “Wow! I thought you were like 14 or 15 or something!”
“Nope,” I said calmly.
“Well, that’s good! That’s good that you look younger, isn’t it?”
“Not really,” was all I said.
Maybe when I’m 40 and I look 30 I’ll be happy, but right now it’s just annoying.
It really is. While it is something I’ve come to expect, just like I expect certain friends of mine to make remarks about my height, it can still be annoying. Sometimes the height thing is okay, but if I, for example, declare on Facebook that I got my Learner’s Licence, the response should be supportive and congratulatory, and not, “Are you sure you’ll be able to reach the pedals?” Because now I’ve installed an eject button in the passenger seat. I’ve programmed it to let me do it twice, so that if I “forget” to open the sun roof the first time, the passenger can be ejected on the second try.
No, I don’t forget shit like that.
You might say, "Don't mess with short people. They'll bite you in the ass eventually. Maybe even literally." Except you just shouldn't say mean things to your friends when they need to hear something other than a reminder that they're shorter than the average North American woman.
I've been practising my comebacks:
"What?! I AM?! Why has no one informed me?"
Maybe when you're 50 I'll make fun of your wrinkles while I look like I'm 40, because that's basically the same thing. Except I won't. It's this funny little being-the-better-person thing I've learned over the years. Perhaps being reminded about my youthful appearance and height every day of my life has helped with this learning experience.
I know that there is no way for people to tell how old I am. They go by what they see in other 19+ year-olds, and height has a lot to do with it. I can’t blame people for that. I shouldn’t take this out on those who simply don’t know, so just telling people how old I really am and smiling as they have their minds blown is about as much as I can and will do. I look forward to being asked how old I am when I’m 20. I’m sure I’ll be one of the few adults who still get asked their age.
“You’re like 15 or 16, right?”
“You’re still in high school, right?”
“Actually, I’m doing my Masters at UVic right now.” So what if I’m not? Fuck ‘em.
Speaking of youth, I'm really glad this is coming out before Rapture:
I'll get to see it before I spend eternity burning within the fiery walls of hell, and that's all that really matters. See you there.