I'm working in the shop today and it's bloody freezing. I'm wearing a big aran cardy to keep warm. Earlier today two women in their 50's came into the shop.
"Do you knit yourself?" The tall one asked me in that odd way Irish people have of inserting the word 'yourself' where it really has no place. (Another example; "Ah, is it yourself?" Well who the fuck else would I be?")
"No I'm afraid not." I said in a friendly way.
"That's a lovely cardigan you have on, did you knit it yourself?" She asked me.
"No, it's a vintage cardigan." I said.
"That wool is very hard to get these days." She said while rubbing my cardigan inbetween her fingers.
"Yeah, this one is about 30 years old." I replied.
"It looks very warm. Did you make it yourself?" She asked again.
"No." I said as calmly as possible. "I don't knit. This is a vintage cardigan. It is about 30 years old."
"Oh. I see. It's a good fit isn't it? Did you have it made especially for you?"
At this point I was struggling to keep my friendly, calm exterior. I imagined my 6 year old self thinking 'You know what you are really going to need when you're in your thirties Thea? An Aran cardy. It's likely you'll be living in a cold country by then and there's always a shortage of warm clothes in those places so you better prepare now. Find someone who can knit you a cardy in the estimated size you will be when you're 34! Do it! Now!'
That led me to wonder just how old did she think I was? I like to think of myself as a pretty youthful looking 36 year old but possibly that is just the way I like to think of myself, and not the way others see me.
Her question really threw me into a spin. Do I look instead like I was this size thirty years ago? That would make me about 50.
(Not actually being 50 - that's not frightening - but thinking that others think you look 50 when you actually think you look like a youthful looking 36 - that's frightening.
While all this was going on in my head the lady was still waiting for an answer. I was annoyed at her questions and her not listening to my answers, and annoyed at the implication that I looked like a 50 year old.
"No." I said. "I made it myself."