Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Haircuts & Highways

A long, long time ago in my early 20s, HGOC once told me that he would know he's in a mid-life crisis once his wife decides to get one of those short haircuts. You know what I'm talking about. I suppose at a certain point in time, women simply (or maybe agonizingly) decide that long locks no longer work and do away with them.

Admittedly, I laughed at this statement, but not because I was laughing at the hairstyles of middle-aged women. I laughed at how accurate it was. At that point I flashed back to of all the short female haircuts I had ever seen in my life and who they belonged to. My friend's observation was spot on. It wasn't something I had ever thought about until that point, but why would I?

The reason this exchange has come to mind is because I've been noticing something that middle-aged men do. Women may disagree with me, but from a male perspective I would consider this thing to be an indicator of a mid-life crisis, or at least that your life has become utterly boring. (Side note: maybe those two things are one in the same...)

So, what is this potential mid-life crisis indicator? The commute conversation.

You've definitely heard your fathers engage in this conversation with the other men at some sort of gathering with friends or family, or maybe you've even heard co-workers or clients do it at meetings or dinners. They start talking about where they work and where they live, then the conversation inevitably turns to how they commute between the two places.

The formula for this conversation is pretty uniform across the board. You talk about which freeway you take (I-95, US-23, I-696 etc.), the direction you take it (North, South, East, West), which exit you use (Exit 69 Big Beaver Road -- yes this is a real exit in Michigan), and you name a landmark because some people in the conversation will stare at you blankly because they are lost and you'll need to help them get their bearings (there's a Hooters & Home Depot right at the corner after you exit).

I've heard this conversation go down hundreds of times, but only in the past couple of years has hearing it brought me to this stark realization: I have no way of avoiding this fate. Throughout my 20s, I thought my life was going to be a never-ending party. But as I near the final stages of this glorious decade of life, I'm realizing that I'm going to be old one day, and it is going to suck.

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