It seems I’m getting carded more than ever lately. (I’m not complaining.)
I suppose I’m thinking about it because my thirty-first birthday is coming up, which means that ten years ago was that all magical twenty-first birthday. (That’s the kind of math I’m good at!) Back then I was working at a restaurant as a hostess, the only worries I had were whether I was going to get just enough sleep to work off the booze from the night before. I could do that back then. Work a double shift, run all over the place making sure the restaurant was running smoothly, go out drinking at midnight with the whole crew, then hang out after hours with my boyfriend, only to wake up and do it all over again. Those were the days. Now, if I have one too many I feel like I need to spend the whole next day in bed before I can function like a normal human being. (I feel like I’ve written all of this before, but all that drinking has killed so many brain cells). The point is that at that time, the start of those drunken nights at the restaurant happened when I was actually under twenty-one. I was able to ride on the coattails of the others who knew all the bartenders and knew who would never ask for my measly ID. I, along with the other few under-agers, became untouchable. I was young, a size 0, had no bills to pay, and it was good.
Until soon before my big birthday…
I ran into an old high school ‘friend’ at the favorite bar of my co-workers. She was shocked to see that she had been carded yet there I was sitting at the bar with a big old beer. This obviously didn’t make her happy, and her pettiness led her to tattle to the manager. As I purchased my next drink, I was busted. For the next couple months I was forced to sit on the sidelines (or drink at home), and it was no fun. The night of my twenty-first birthday, my boyfriend took me out to a super fancy dinner in the city. I insisted on the way home that we go to the bar that banned me to have a nightcap. My glee was apparent to anyone to within a couple bar stools how proud I was to present my legal-ness to that mean, old manager who was just doing his job.
I moved to New York only a couple of months after I turned twenty-one. I never thought that I would have issues buying alcohol again (something that is oh, so important for a college student). But I soon found out there was a liquor store across from my college that didn’t like the looks of me, even though I liked them a lot. They sold $4.99 magnum bottles of wine which I could purchase only some of the time, depending on who was looking at my ID. They constantly claimed they would not take out-of-state licenses and turned me away. No amount of arguing worked, and I argued.
It upset me every time I was denied because I finally wasn’t trying to fool anyone. But it didn’t matter to them, mostly because they didn’t know how much business they were losing by turning me away. College is a messy time, folks.
Then there are those mega crazy situations where I see people getting carded ahead of me in line, get out my ID in preparation, then don’t even get looked at twice. I can be in full dress-up mode or my pajamas, it doesn’t matter. It makes no sense at all to me.
Last night, I went to get some beer because I spent the day doing a good scrubbing of my apartment, applying to jobs and writing. It was one of those days that I could feel great accomplishment without even venturing outside. I planned on relaxing by drinking at home in my pj’s while the rest of those weekend warriors freeze their nips off in the first deep chill of the season. I ran to the bodega to pick up some beer and brought my ID (just in case). I was right, he asked for it. I can’t decide if it’s thanks to my amazingly youthful looks or because stores are so scared about getting in trouble.
I’m going to go with the fact that I haven’t aged a day over twenty!