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."


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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.
=when I was pregnant a sales woman said=

Is that why you only had one child? :)

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