Sunday, March 02, 2008
Aging is an incredibly complex experience in so many ways: Biologically, emotionally, culturally, intellectually, and countless other "ly's." Today I passed a milestone in whatever "ly" refers to how other people perceive our own aging. This is a milestone in a series. There are earlier milestones in this same series that I have already passed. To wit:
There's the first time that one makes a purchase at a liquor store and is not asked for id.
I don't remember the date or even year that I passed this milestone, but I remember the event and place very well: It was in the liquor store at an Albertsons. I was very disappointed.
Another milestone is the first time a younger person addresses one as "sir." Or "ma'am."
I remember this event in my own life as well. I was angry.
Today I passed the third milestone in this series: I was buying a small Frosty (vanilla, of course) at a Wendy's. And the order-taker asked me:
"A senior Frosty?"
I gritted my teeth.
"No," I said.
The order-taker pressed the issue:
"You can get the senior. It's okay."
I gritted my teeth more.
"No," I hissed.
So there you are: I am now looked upon as one to whom the senior discount should be proffered.
Alas, the story does not end there. I returned to my table and told Judi what happened.
"You shouldn't be angry," Judi said. "It just means that you look like whatever the age is for senior discounts. Fifty-five?"
It's relevant to mention at this point that I am actually fifty-one.
"So," I said, "I look fifty-five? Thanks!"
"It's not that!" said Judi. "It's just that you haven't shaved today, and your stubble is gray, and your hair is in disarray."
"Oh," I said, my voice rising even more, "so old people all look disheveled?"
"I'm digging," said Judi, "myself a deeper and deeper hole."
All during my 30's people told me I looked 40 so I was interested in what people would say once I actually turned 40. Alas, at that point they stopped telling me how old I looked at all. Maybe there were being polite. Maybe they figured someone who looked as old as I must be deaf.
Well, in the same vein, when I was pregnant a sales woman said "Oh you must be due any day soon!" I was four months pregnant.