I’ve had a lifetime of people not knowing how old I am. I was born with a very rare growth disorder that made me about a head shorter than most kids my age when I was growing up. So for my entire childhood, I looked significantly younger than my years. I mean, I literally could get into the movies for kids’ prices until I was well into my 20s. I didn’t; I paid adult prices because it was the right thing to do. But I could have.
I ended up with an adult height of just under 4’7″. On top of that, I have my mom’s “good skin” so for a good, long time, my face kept looking as young as my height would make you think. On the other hand, I got my dad’s hair and went gray very early. I found my first gray hair on the day I took my SATs (age 17) and it just went more and more salt and pepper since.
So nowadays you’ve got this 4’6.5″ middle-aged lady with few wrinkles and gray hair. NO ONE can figure out how old I am :-).
Cases in point:
While we were on our vacation in Georgia not long ago, we went to Anna Ruby Falls (Joe wrote about our visit here). It’s a very pretty waterfall that’s at the end of a 0.4-mile hike in the forest.
We were sharing the car with our friends Norman and Samantha. It’s their car, so Norm was driving and Joe was riding shotgun. Sam was behind Norm and I was in the far corner, behind Joe. We got up to the gate to pay, and the cost to get in is $3 for people age 16 and up.
The guard looked in the car really fast and said, “That’s…4 adults? Or is it 3?”
Granted, I was furthest from the guy and with all the trees around, was really in the shadows of the car. He also didn’t look at me very carefully – probably just a quick glance. So between not looking at me hard and being hard to see, all he probably saw was my “small person” outline…and he took me as a possible “under 16.”
Fast forward to less than an hour later, when we got to the falls. Because of social distancing, everyone is taking turns getting a picture or two from the wooden lookout they have. Some older guy was taking FOREVER to get his picture taken but when he was finally done, Joe asked the woman who had been waiting before us if she wanted him to take her picture. She said yes and thanked him. Once he was done, she offered to return the favor:
“Do you want me to take a picture of you with your mother?”
Y’all, I’m admittedly older than Joe, but not by THAT much; just not quite 7 years! But between the gray hair and the small height, well, this isn’t the first time someone has mistaken me for a little old lady.
Just not on the same day that someone else mistook me as being under 16. Welcome to my world! 😉
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary