Yet, as I've gotten older the reminders seem to come more frequently and - often - with more punch. Because they're coming in places where I haven't ever felt quite so out of the loop in the past.
Yesterday's assault to my cool factor was completely situational. And it was in a situation where - frankly - I've never aspired to be "one of the guys." But, at the same time, I've never felt quite so out of place.
You see, yesterday, I went to get my oil changed at one of the places where you actually just sit in your car while the crew work on it.
Now, I've never been a car guy. I mean... I know the basics. I know where the various fluids can go in. I know how to change wiper blades and lightbulbs. And I even know how an internal combustion engine works to propel a car down the road. But I've never known cars.
Which was fine when I was younger. I'd go to get my oil changed and the guys (because 19 out of 20 of the people who work in these places are guys) would kind of politely ignore me while they worked. I'd sit and read a few pages of a book and turn the car on and off as requested, and then I'd leave.
They didn't expect me to have any extra money for the add-ons they wanted me to get. They asked me questions and were fine with half-answers. And my oil got changed and I went on my way.
Now that I'm older, though, they seem to have decided that since I don't know about cars, I must have money. So when I declined all of the extra "recommended" services, yesterday - and said I could change my own wiper blades - I was met with... well... indifference. I suddenly became invisible to all of the 20-something guys in the shop.
Was I hoping to be their friend? No. Was I hoping to have a great conversation and leave with a feeling of simpatico (I don't think I'm using that word right)? No. Was I simply hoping to not feel like a complete dork? Yes.
All I can say is that it's a good thing I've got at least 3 months or 3,000 miles to bolster my internal cool factor before going back.