In terms of preventability, that kind of social faux pas is right up there with asking a fat lady when her baby is due. I'm afraid I could not spare him his crestfallen "Ooops - I just shit myself!" reaction as I grimaced and replied "Nephews" through clenched teeth. A better woman would have been able to gracefully save him from himself, but I'm afraid at that moment I didn't have it in me.
Twenty minutes later, still ruminating about how anyone could possibly interpret that I'm THAT old, I squared off against a sullen check-out clerk in Target (and, by the way, I maintain that Clear Lake is where the slang "tarjay" originated, for reasons to lengthy to discuss here). Arms folded and eyes wandering everywhere but toward me, she flatly refused to capitulate to my protestation, "But I'll be forty-six in three more weeks!"
So opened was the purse once more, and out came the driver's license. And no, it was not a fluke, nor was an immigrant clerk ("They all look the same to me!") - I still get carded routinely, more frequently when I'm wearing gym clothing (which Lawrence says look like pyjamas). It's a Bad Day in America when the sight of a fit older body is so confusing to the general population that they assume the only explanation is that it must actually be a young body in some sort of a freakish disguise, this despite the substantial evidence to the contrary presented in the face and the hair that would make Jaime Lee proud.
So in the space of twenty minutes I had one thinking I was older than dirt and one thinking I was younger than yesterday, which I suppose is a propos of nothing other than the fact that shopping is not one of my favorite activities.