Even though I only live eight miles from the heart of downtown Austin, it can sometimes feel like it's a thousand miles away. Like last night when my friend Monica and I showed up at a very hip wine bar. We were in her Honda minivan.
Everyone else was on a unicycle.
Well, okay, maybe not everyone, but the crowd was full of that particular Austin young-hipster type where all of the guys wear skinny jeans and interesting facial hair and all of the women wear Toms shoes and have no cellulite. I sat at our small cafe table, sipping my very pretentious wine flight ("conflict-free chardonnay") and watched as the youngsters all lazed about in their plaid shirts and Ray-Ban Wayfarers. Wayfarers that I'd worn after Wham! had made them cool the first time, thank you very much. But I then had a horrible thought: I'm probably old enough to be their mother.
"You know," Monica observed as she slugged back her Etruscan pinot blanc, "we're probably old enough to be their mothers."
"Shhhh!" I immediately answered, glancing around with fearful eyes. "Be quiet! They've got excellent hearing!"
"Yeah, like the dude over there in the ironic Fruit Loops t-shirt is going to give a crap," she replied. "He's too busy rolling his own cigarette with his hand-woven bag of fair trade tobacco. Weirdo. Besides, who cares?"
Well, me for one. In all honesty, it usually doesn't matter what people think of me, but I'm just not ready to be viewed as the old lady crashing the party quite yet. Like Rappin' Grandma. Or Drinkin' Mom. Or Menopausal Cougar Doin' The Electric Slide At Applebee's Until She Falls Down and Has Massive Internal Bleeding. Of course, I know I'm years older and in a completely different place in my life than that of a 20-something wine bar denizen, but come on. I don't have to be obvious about it, right?
Which is why I still can't believe I then turned to Monica and yelled louder than the thumping South American guitar music, "Hey, did you see who the new PTO president is? Sherry Jenkins?! What, was Pol Pot unavailable? Hahahaha!"
Shit shit shit.
The worst part about a 40-year-old woman trying to look hip? She has trouble remembering that she's trying to look hip. Short term memory loss will get you every time.
As the word "PTO" wafted through the wine bar like a homemade stink bomb, Monica's Estee Lauder anti-aging serumed eyes immediately rounded in fear. We both realized that not only had we driven to Hipsterland in a dented Honda Odyssey, but I'd just made the grave mistake of talking like a suburban wanker in a place so cool that the waiters had names like "Merlin" and "Cochise" and "Mr. Huggins." This was not so good.
"Um..." I stuttered. "Umm...." Then I leaned over and whispered, "Quick, name a cool band we should know about before the sideburn brigade throws their rehabilitated pit bulls on us."
"OK, OK... Coldplay!" she yelled. "I love the band Coldplay!"
"No! Not them! I've heard of them."
"Then The Vampire Weekend! I love The Vampire Weekend! That's a thing, right? The Vampire Weekend? Or am I just thinking of that because I saw Twilight on a Sunday? You know, that Sunday that Jackson didn't have a sleep-over because Jeannie had lice, do you rememb---"
"Shut up shut up shut up! Just make up a band we like! Seriously, Merlin's giving me the stink-eye and I really want to finish this glass of non-gluten, non-nut Gewurztraminer before Mr. Huggins chases us out for being alive when Jimmy Carter was in office."
"OK, um, oh, my God! OK, here we go -- I just can't stop listening to Book Jacket Omelet!" she boomed. "Book Jacket Omelet is gnarly!"
We paused then to nonchalantly look around, a little worried about her maverick use of the 80s word "gnarly," but hoping that that word had made a hipster resurgence like nerd glasses, leg warmers and community service had. After a few seconds passed with nothing being thrown at us, not even a little shade, I finally let my shoulders relax. Monica and I were obviously fitting in with the hipsters because nobody had even batted an eye in our direction. Or at least I don't think anyone had batted an eye.
It's kind of hard to tell when you're wearing bifocal contacts and they're all wearing Wayfarers.