This weekend, I worked at the Dia de la Mujer health fair with our lead volunteer for the Lifting Latina Voices Initiative.  When she emailed me to coordinate the table and materials, she called me “Ms. Laura,” which was different, but at least she didn’t call me Mrs.  (Though I do prefer to be called Dr., which is what I select when I’m ordering something from the internet.) And then, the volunteer coordinator told me that the girl is 15, which I thought was pretty cute and pretty cool–when I was 15, I never knew anyone who was interested in being a sex educator for her age group. 

I met up with Sandra (name has been changed to protect ME, in case she Googles) on Saturday morning, and I’m not great at car conversations, but I made an effort to engage with her. As my little car struggled to merge onto the interstate, I scanned my memories for what I was doing 11 years ago. And I was correct: She was finishing with exams and she got to have half days and exemptions.  I even got a tiny bit nostalgic for the end of freshman year when I actually felt popular and cute and capable and I was actually sad to leave my friends for the summer.  And there I was, able to connect with a 15-year-old! 

Minutes later, she asked me earnestly, “Do you know what MySpace is?”  I have never in my life felt “old.”  I know people (a few years younger than I am) who will lament, “Oh God, I’m so OLD,” and I immediately dismiss it.  I kind of WANT to be older just because I always feel like I’m not.  But on Saturday morning, I felt damn old. I signed up for MySpace when Sandra was in 5th grade!  …Have I heard of it?!  And when I told her that I have not only heard of MySpace, but I am still on there, she was genuinely tickled and impressed. (We are now MySpace friends.)

Later on, I was talking about an infamous Obama life-sized cut-out that lives at my workplace.  “He’s holding glasses that look like they’re at least 15 years old,” I told Sandra.  Which meant nothing to her.  And on the way back from the fair, when I was playing Weezer’s Blue Album, she politely said, “What kind of music would you call this?”  “Well, it’s Weezer,” I began, and stopped when I realized that the album came out the year she was born.  I think she was trying to connect with me when she told me that she loves Green Day, but I didn’t bother to clarify if she meant Dookie or American Idiot, because I’ll bet it was the latter. 

I actually even got into this “old” character when I looked at her MySpace profile and saw “sexy” photos and words like “shyt” (Seriously. I don’t know why that spelling is necessary.), and thought, “She’s too young for that!”  And then I realized that I conveniently forgot about being 15 and cursing like a sailor at colorguard practice and ill-advised 3 a.m. PG-13 AIM chats with alleged 25-year-old football players in Oklahoma during a slumber party (I even made up a persona called Roxy).  I felt a tiny bit closer to 15 at that point.  But holy Toledo, if I did that at 15 and thought I was popular, I was also pretty dumb.

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