Stuck at Fourteen

My close friend, Lorie-Jo, understands what it means to be stuck at a certain age. When I try to explain this to other people, I often get blank looks, eye rolls and I can see the thought bubbles–“She’s wacky, you always knew that.”

But in two different novels I was reading lately there was reference by the character to this same concept. The first I actually can’t remember the book or find the quote, but at least I remember noticing it (that is a whole different blog topic!). The second was this morning (leading to my decision to blog about it).  It was in Anne Tyler’s Clock Dance, where the character thought: “ it often seemed to her that from behind her adult face a child about eleven years old was still gazing out at the world.”

That is what I’m talking about. Your internal sense that you are still at some age or the other that stuck around inside of you. For me it was age fourteen. My defining moment came as I lay on the hill across the street from our house. Sidebar: this hill was marvelous. It had very tall eucalyptus trees for climbing, a stunning view of the bay with two bridges visible, San Mateo and Dumbarton…okay another sidebar. I can’t even think the word Dumbarton without a video in my mind of EVERY SINGLE time we drove across the bridge my father making a very lame joke about “dumb Barton”….ANYWAY, at my defining moment I was thinking about a lot of things. What sticks is thinking about everything I had learned in my fourteen years and wondering how we knew these facts were true? How did we know animals can’t see color? We could never, ever be inside theirs eyes or their brains. In my mind we were only “supposing” based on disecting eyes and such. And how could we possibly know that no two snowflakes were alike? In all of time? Think about how many snowflakes that was. No one could ever look at them ALL. Sure, I agreed they were very different, but that statement–no two alike–was pretty pompous as far as I was concerned. And for that matter, did people’s thoughts work the same? How would I ever know if anyone’s brain worked like mine? If they were laying beside me in this tall green grass, watching the clouds drift overhead, did the same types of images, words, ideas, flood their heads? Or was the process totally different for every person? Surely no two people thought alike if no two snowflakes were alike?
So there I am. Stuck internally at that defining moment, because honestly, my thought process has not changed since then.