A Senior And Proud Of It
When I was in my early 50’s I was on a city bus going home. The bus was full, standing room only. I assumed my position. Feet planted and spread apart, holding firmly onto the handle dangling from the bus’s ceiling.
The bus lurched forward and I was on my way home. Settling in with my eyes closed making the trip bearable, I heard a voice, almost a whisper. “Mr?”, not enough to break my thoughts to open my eyes. “Mr? You can have my seat if you like” came the voice again.
When I opened my eyes and looked down this very young teenage girl was getting up with a concerned look on her face. I wanted to look around to see what old man she was going to give her seat to when I realized she was talking to me.
Did someone just slap me in the face with a wet fish?
I said thank you to the dear girl as we exchanged places. I sat down, gave her a thank you smile and closed my eyes. Not because I wanted to resume my daydream but because I was embarrassed. I was now officially old.
I was eventually able to erase that image from my mind over the years until my next “aged”encounter. There was a time when McDonald’s served the best coffee in town. I know, I know, we’ve come along way haven’t we. But It was good in the day, free refills and and catch up on the daily news.
On this fateful day, I was waiting my turn in line. An elderly man was in front of me and he proudly showed his Seniors Card so he could claim his discount on his $1.50 coffee. When It was my turn I ordered my coffee and the young man behind the counter said in a matter of fact tone, “Do you have your Seniors Card with you sir?”
I tried not to react as to cause a scene and my wife would have be so proud of me as I kept my cool, smiled and said, “no, I am not a senior”. Inside I played out the scene the way I would have liked it to go. I saw myself, reach over the counter, grab the young little ….by the shirt, pulled him over the counter and show him how old I really was.” But with a shake of the head to try and get that image out of my mind I continued to smile.
I made a secret vow that I would never under any circumstances get a Seniors Card or get old.
When I turned 65 last July I was officially a Senior Citizen. I kept a low profile but my wife was not one for letting saving a few cents here and there get by her even at my expense. I had cold sweats going to bed the night before my birthday thinking she would wake me after midnight and remind me of my age and that in the morning I was going to apply for a Seniors Card as soon as we wake up. We were like to Pro Football linesmen going toe to toe for months before I reluctantly gave in. She set up my online application for me and all I needed to do was push the enter button and it was out of my hands.
It took me another few months to take the card out of my wallet. When I saved my first dollars on a train trip to Brisbane my wife hugged me and told me how proud she was.
It was all down hill from there. I proudly present my Seniors Card without hesitation or prodding.
Getting old is hard enough. Feeling old is another thing. A card should not play a factor. Trust me, its all in the mind.