The person in the kiosk usually takes a cursory look and waves me along. Last night, however, the guard took a special interest. A woman of size and color, she grabbed my California license out of my hand, held it close to her eyes, and peered back at me.
“Yeah.” I flashed a smile, one that would quickly fade.
“You look a whole lot younger there.” My smile was still in place as I was calculating whether she was questioning my identification’s authenticity, or if she was making a crack.
“I mean, a lot younger!” Yes, lady, thank you for clearing that up. I had a fleeting thought that I’d tell her she probably looked a whole lot thinner on her driver’s license, but I wanted a parking spot and I was too tired from the workday to wrestle with her.
“I felt a whole lot younger there, too.” An uncomfortable chuckle dribbled out.
She shook her head, clutching my license. I waited. “That really you?”
“Yeah, that really me.” My teeth gritted through the sarcasm of my bad grammar.
She pushed the button for the gate to rise, and handed back my ID, shaking her head. I put it in my wallet, and looked at her. “I feel a lot younger than I look.” I was suddenly desperate to save aged face.
“Well, good thing cause you don’t look it.”
I drove on, found a spot, and fumed my way home.