{23/02/2012}   Wrinkles; is she older or younger than me? Just how old do you look?

I am increasingly aware of wrinkles, both mine and those of people I don’t know. For all those reading this who know me, I’m not interested in your wrinkles as an age identifier, the odds are I already know how old you are!

I found myself staring in the mirror and inspecting the skin on my face the other day. I did that long enough to get aching arms from prodding, stretching, etc my skin. I am trying to embrace ageing. I am happy to be getting older where my mind, self-awareness, confidence and experience are concerned. I am distressed about the way my memory is performing. I am becoming increasingly aware of wrinkles. I want to love them.

Part of the reason I was examining my face the other day was because I realised I’d been trying to work out how old someone around my age was. I realised I was going by her face, neck and hands. I concluded she was younger but more ravaged than me! I’m not sure I feel comfortable with this relatively recent fixation with whether people are older or younger than me. It shouldn’t matter, I don’t think.

When I was 35, having not been asked for ID to buy alcohol for quite some years, I was asked on two separate occasions in different towns and shops for ID. Absolutely ridiculous and in fact so ridiculous I couldn’t even see it as a compliment. On the first occasion, I laughed. She probably saw my “laughter wrinkles” at that point and realised her error. I informed her I was 35. 35. I did produce my driving licence, but by this time I think she’d given me a proper look. She was very apologetic but I was quite happy. I did at least feel a bit more youthful than I might normally have felt!

The last time it happened was in Morrison’s, Peckham. This was not a pleasant experience at all and I came out of the store almost in tears and, believe it or not, only in possession of my bottle of wine by virtue of having quite a nasty argument with two members of staff. I know I should’ve complained but I haven’t been back to that store since and I hope never to again. Horrid.

I was using the highly annoying self-check-out machine. I didn’t have that many things, pretty much what I wanted for dinner that night, including a bottle of wine. As anticipated, the beepers and flashing lights went off when I scanned the wine so I waited for someone to come over. She came over, miserable, and asked for ID. I did a proper double take and in shock said, “But I’m 35”. She looked at me, scowled and demanded ID. I’m not kidding, we had an exchange whereby she repeated her request for ID and I alternated between saying, “But I’m 35” and, “I don’t have any ID”. She was having none of it. Then, when the red mist really starting forming, she manhandled me to take the wine out of my hand. Seriously, I felt violated! And robbed. At that point, she was between me and my wine and I was having none of it. We had a dispute. I showed her my wallet and the few debit cards in there. She wouldn’t accept that could mean I was over 18. I was not going to let go of this one and I knew by this point if she’d been decent she would have realised there was no way I was under 18. It got more heated, though neither of us were shouting. So she called over her manager and explained the situation, still with my wine in her hands and an unvalidated check-out. The manager then turned to me, looked at me and said that if I didn’t have ID I couldn’t buy the alcohol. I was seriously shocked; probably lucky to be more shocked than enraged. It went back and forth. I got out my car keys, “But you can be 17 to drive a car”. I repeated that I was 35. By this point, getting angry and frustrated, I was wrinkling like a 90-year old. I can’t remember what tipped the balance, maybe the other customers starting to take notice or maybe just the ridiculousness of the whole situation, but the manager took the bottle of wine, put it on the bag packing area, looked at me, with an evil scowl (well, that’s how I remember it now!), and, while jabbing her finger at me (red rag that, and I’m Taurus!), she said in no uncertain terms that she would let me out with the wine but that her job was on the line for doing that as if I was under age she would be responsible, blah, blah, bollocking blah. She actually jabbed her finger at me and that was all said as if to a naughty pupil. She then made some comment about getting outside the doors as quickly as possible. I was really upset as I walked home.

I suppose that story isn’t really to do with wrinkles, rather two spiteful people on a bit of a power trip. But I suppose I should just appreciate that I must have looked a tiny bit younger than I was. Must apply some anti-wrinkle cream before I go out …


JAM says:

I am incredibly impressed that you left with the wine – usually they are quite adament that you can leave but the booze stays with them. Horrible experience though, you should write to Morrison’s about it as although they were right to ask for ID, the way in which they did and the aggression it was totally unacceptable.

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