As I suspected, my middle-age peers seem to have acquired that elusive level of grown up maturity (previously seen in our parents), at some point during the last five years.
And I must have been sleeping when it happened.
I can fully admit to being immature. I often wish my attitude was different, because my schoolboy strain of silly humour has landed me in my fair share of trouble in the past. I just seem to see things differently to a lot of people. I tend to become easily distracted by trivia and really stupid things can entertain me for hours. There are evidently a few interpretations to the saying ‘being as old as you feel’, and this week I was obviously feeling around age twelve again.
The tale of the carrot penis was a prime example.
I should point out, however, that my physical maturity does not match my mental maturity. As I don’t look young for my age, people have foolish expectations of me possessing a mature, more refined level of wit, (spectacularly contradicted recently, if you were lucky enough to spot me nosediving into a friend’s drive in ridiculously high teenage heels and a maxi dress).
But a lot of the time, if I’m honest, I do feel mentally closer to the maturity of a teenager. I have what you might call a ‘sick’ sense of humour (in the old-fashioned sense).
Which is what happened with the carrot.
You see, I just don’t seem to possess a verbal filter. A therapist would probably say that my inappropriate response to absurd situations (like people inadvertently making fools of themselves) is a coping mechanism; that if you laugh at something potentially awful, you eradicate the risk of it being so bad. Therapy appears to have an answer for almost all socially unacceptable behaviours. But my reaction could equally be linked to a facet of my anticipatory anxiety, which unfortunately seems to impact a lot of my mental processes; both good and bad.
So here’s what happened with the carrot penis. I would be interested to know on a scale of 1-10 (1 being ‘not at all’ and 10 being ‘shockingly bad parent’) how inappropriate you think my behaviour really was.
It started when I went to peel the carrots for dinner on Wednesday and I found the carrot (in the image) in the bag. Now I imagine that the NORMAL middle-aged female reaction upon finding a penis-shaped carrot would be something along the lines of, ‘what an odd-shaped carrot’.
Not exactly MY response, unfortunately.
Penis, stiffy, hard-on, boner flitted immediately across the synapses of my brain, triggering the switch. Because you see, as much as I might aspire to be Helen Mirren or Kate Blanchett, in reality the way my brain reacts to potentially ridiculous/dangerous situations is far more Ferris Bueller or Tom Hanks in Big.
Woefully, my reaction didn’t stop there. I blame the physiological malfunction in my brain which is connected to the area responsible for my ‘filter’. Which in laymen’s terms means I don’t have one. So whilst NORMAL women of a certain age would have just ignored the carrot’s peculiarly uncanny resemblance to a PHALLUS, (or smirked privately and MOVED ON), my brain went into characteristic overdrive. I simply don’t absorb AND contemplate information. Impulsivity leads the way in my world.
So instead of just chopping that f*cking carrot, I rushed upstairs with my carrot penis clutched tightly in my sticky little hand and raced straight into Nerd Child’s room, (killing myself with laughter at my pathetic little private joke), and barging in, I shouted, ‘TA DA! What does this remind you of’?
I have questioned the golden-ness of silence.
She looked up at me in horror. If anyone has ever watched Abfab, it was a Saffy/Edina moment and one I wish I could have rewound instantly the minute I saw her disapproval.
So obviously I tried to backtrack desperately, mortified that once again I had betrayed the trust we strive so hard to maintain.
‘I just…..thought…..it was…..kind of…..funny,’ I blurted feebly, instantly reminded of her shame at my behaviour at her last parent/teenager evening (Here) and at the Sydney University Open Day (Here); that we were still in recovery for.
‘If you’re twelve, Mum.’
So my question is: when does the whole middle-age maturity thing kick in exactly?
It’s just that I think I might be almost ready.
You’re only young once, but you can be immature forever. Germaine Greer