Sunday, May 22, 2005

Graduating to senior

For a moment, while checking movie times and prices, I thought I was almost ready to graduate to the senior tickets. I checked the policy. I have 15 years to go.

So why is the AARP sending me information all the time?

I'm at that awkward age -- not old enough to get the senior discount at movies or the senior meal at Denny's and not young enough to get down with the def crowd. I thought the awkward age was that bubble between childhood and my teen years. Is there another awkward age in my future?

I don't feel any different, except for those first few minutes when I get up off the floor in the morning and am forcibly and painfully reminded I'm still here, alive but not kicking so much. I still feel like I did when I was 17. The mirror sees someone very much older, someone well past the age to get cheaper movie tickets and cheaper meals at Denny's -- at least first thing in the morning.

As the day progresses and I go to the bathroom, I pass the mirror and I age backward, younger and younger, but not quite to the age of 17, hovering somewhere around 30 on a good day and let's not talk about how old I am on the bad ones, but at least a few seconds younger than past it.

I talked to a 27-year-old last night -- a girl, if you worry about those things and think I have found a phone sex lover (I'm so bored with phone sex and have been for decades) -- and she said I don't sound the way she thought I would. "How did you think I would sound?"

"Old like my Mom."

I decided not to pursue that any farther. I remember how old I thought my mother looked and sounded. She has aged considerably since then. No one questions her right to senior privileges or her Golden Buckeye card. "Everyone tells me I sound young."

"It's not just your voice. You act young, like one of my friends."

Okay, we're in better territory here. I'm not down with the street talk and I don't know Spanglish or hip-hop or any of the current idioms that pass for language. I have never marched gladly into the pro-Ebonics camp and never will. I don't deny my age, although I do dye my roots to match the darker hair still lingering among the shimmering silver strands I wouldn't mind having in toto, not just enough to make my hair that awful gray. I think of myself as ageless -- except first thing in the morning when I'm getting used to that old person staring back at me in stunned, hurt silence as I studiously glance past her in the mirror. Then again, maybe my youthful heart is writing checks my popping, cracking and creaking body can't cash. Stranger things have been known to happen.

My memory is going. Where was I?

Oh, yes, the awkward age. I'm there. I managed the last awkward age and I'm sure I'll manage this one, but is there another awkward age yet to come? Will I still have to worry about that time between being a senior at last and moving into decrepitude or Methuselah time? I guess I'll have to muddle through now and wait to find out because I plan on being here a very long time.

When I hit 150, will there be more discounts on my horizon? Will Denny's give me all my meals free just for having the strength to heave open and walk through their doors? Will the movie theaters let me walk in boldly without buying a ticket and let me choose whatever I can still gum and swallow without choking to death at the concession counter? Of course I'll have to sit down in the first row to see. By then they might even put in geriatric reclining chairs to keep me from getting a crick in my crepey neck from staring up at the screen where I can still make out misty water-colored shapes and tag them to fleeting memories of movies gone by.

I guess I'll see...

...or not.

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