Communication · personal · so that happened

Red Head

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I got ID’d yesterday.

I was buying 20 eggs and a bottle of spiced rum – a questionable grocery list at the best of times – when the young guy working the till stopped and looked at me expectantly. There were about five people waiting in line behind me, so as if looking for answers or permission I first glanced at them, and then back at him, and chewed the inside of my cheek nervously. Anytime I – for any reason – hold up the line at the checkout, I’m (I think not unreasonably) afraid that a riot will break out behind me and I will die, suddenly and ignominously, when somebody throws a bottle of Elderflower Cordial at my head.

After a pause that was probably only five seconds long but felt like the eternity of time compressed and squeezed into a matter of seconds, his mouth twisted at the corner and he said, “Sorry, but I’ll need to see your ID?”

As if it was obvious.

As if I pass for an 18 year old on any given Tuesday.

I can say with certainty that I don’t look 12 years younger than my age, so this came as a bit of a surprise. For a moment I wasn’t sure I even had any ID on me. I started to get preemptively annoyed about potentially being prevented from buying my bottle of rum.

The person behind me in the queue shifted his weight from one foot to the other and this tiny gesture (the first sign of the aforementioned riot; I’m sure of it) spurred me into action. I dug into my bag and pulled out my passport card, which I was only carrying by pure chance and have literally never used for any practical purpose.

I handed it over with a face that might have read ‘You have absolutely got to be kidding me‘ but might also have read ‘Please hurry up before someone lamps me with a turnip and I have to go to intensive care for the sake of two cartons of eggs and a bottle of rum.’

He took his time looking the card over. He tilted it to check the holographic shine, then scanned it for my date of birth. When he found it, his eyebrows shot up into his hairline and he looked at me and said, “OOooooooOOOOOOoooOOOOoooh!”

The man behind me shifted his weight again. I swear I could see his fingers twitching. He was probably having graphic, detailed fantasies of throttling the two of us.

My face started to burn and I turned an unnatural, almost-fluorescent hue that lit up the shop with a rosy glow. Unfortunately, not only do I flush red when I’m embarrassed, but I also find blushing to be absolutely mortifying, and so it becomes a cycle; I turn into a human traffic light stuck on red.

The guy still held my passport card, and was now grinning at me with one eyebrow raised. He slowly moved to hand it back to me, and although I itched to snatch it off him and sprint out the door, I forced myself to move at a normal pace. I took it back and busied myself burying it deep in my bag, hiding my face with my hair in an effort to get my skintone back to an earthly shade. He handed me my rum, still grinning, and I felt another wave of heat wash over me. I tapped my card on the machine and grabbed the receipt off him a moment sooner than might have been polite, and as I turned to walk away, he called after me:

“I hope you have a wonderful night!”

And then, when I didn’t reply straight away, he added (with a touch of innuendo):

“Have fun!*”

Without turning, I lifted the bottle of rum in acknowledgement of his comment and continued out the door.

It’s cold in the Dublin evenings now, but not to worry; my flushed face kept me warm for a few minutes longer.

 

*I suspect he either thought I was a tiny alcoholic with a penchant for spiced rum and omelettes OR he thought I was on my way to get properly hammered and egg someone’s house**. Neither is particularly flattering.

42 thoughts on “Red Head

    1. Well other than meringues, what can I do with dozens of egg whites? The eggnog I make (the aged Alton Brown one with tweaks) leaves me with a loooooot of egg whites left over…

      1. My favorite thing to do with egg whites is “velvetting” meats for Chinese dishes (although you can go cross-cultural. No need to stick to just Chinese dishes).

        Alternately, I love when I have a surfeit of whites because then I can make a salt crust (salt + egg whites) for a large joint of meat, almost any fowl, or whole fish.

        How did you like ol’ Alton’s nog, btw?

        1. I love it. Made it last year and it disappeared in no time so this year I’ve made a lot more!

          I have never heard of either of those uses for egg whites so now I must go to google!

          1. (BTW, if you would prefer to make an actual dish from the whites, rather than use them as a component of preparation, I should mention the obvious: Oeufs a la Neige. I would just caution you though, if you do go to the trouble of making that classic dish, by all that is good and tasty in the world PLEASE make your own custard – crรจme anglaise, or even sabayon – and not custard powder. Have some pride, girl.)

            Good to know about Alton’s being so splendiferous. Maybe I’ll give it a whirl one of these days, as I adore eggnog and many concoctions made with it. My own recipe, which is basic but I love it, is here if you’re interested: http://dangerspouse.diaryland.com/051231_15.html but lately I’ve been cutting back on the saffron, even omiting it, in favor of more pure eggy flavor goodness.

            Slรกinte!

          2. Thanks! I’ll have to try these! And OF COURSE I would make my own custard what do you take me for?!

        2. Oh caveat – I have never tried any other eggnog so have no idea if that’s how it’s supposed to taste. Eggnog isn’t a thing here and last year I just got curious so made that one!

          1. My curiosity knows no bounds! The downside is I have nothing to compare it to so I don’t know if it’s thicker/less thick than regular eggnog, more/less alcoholic, sweeter/less sweet…. etc.

          2. Yeah, but the upside is you get to experience those eye-widening moments when you pop something unexpectedly delicious in your mouth sometimes. Who cares whether it “should” be some other flavor or consistency? Enjoy the adventure of cooking!

    1. I have a similar story, but it was 7 am (when no other human being should be awake) I was buying 4 cases of beer and a carton of eggs. In addition to being carded, there was a line of very impatient people, I am 40 and I know I look it especially after having just gotten off of a 12 hour shift, and I was buying beer for a party we were having the next night…but no apparently I’m an alchoholic with few wrinkles?!?!?

  1. I’ll just say as a former redhead….the former coming from the red gradually fading to a brownish red which is now additionally grayer…I also suffer from blushing. And I despise that trait which does seem to be worse as a redhead. I’ve actually told people politely, and sometimes not so politely not to point out to someone they are blushing, which usually makes them grow even redder! A feeling of yes I know I’m f***ing blushing, thanks ever so much for pointing it out!

  2. Our local grocery stores have a policy of asking for ID from ANYONE that is buying alcohol. That just makes it easier on the cashiers (teenagers primarily) so they don’t have to make a decision. At first I was all “Look at me! Doesn’t this gray hair grant me a pass on the ID?” Nope.

    1. I think I prefer this. At least then I’d be prepared to hand over my ID and wouldn’t feel totally wrong-footed! And it definitely makes sense from the cashier’s perspective!

  3. Several months I wrote about the store clerk giving me a “seniors discount”. I am not even in my 50’s.
    I am not trying to play a game of “one up you.” but ….I would like someone to think I am younger than I am.
    However, I can sympathize with your situation (not empathize).

  4. Why spiced rum? If it’s any consolation, there is the other end of the spectrum to contemplate. A little while back, a couple of young waifs from across our estate were raiding the seashells I have gathered and strewn along the front of our house; I was looking on through the sitting-room window, amused, and contemplating limiting them to one shell each, when a scrap of a blond little thing nudged her friend and said: “look, look, the big old man is watching us”. I rest my case (of eggs and rum).

    1. Hahaha! Oh no! I hope you told them a tall tale of the things The Big Old Man does to people who steal his seashells! What age were they??

      Spiced rum for the spiced batch of eggnog. Already have two batches with white rum!

    1. Haha! Even if you’re holding up the line and then have to dig through your bag for what feels like seven years to find something with your date of birth on it?

  5. You are such a wonderful story teller, I mean really…I read a story about being asked for ID on a check out counter and liked it. (I really do mean it as a compliment) That’s really special Quinn, not everyone can.

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