Wednesday, August 16, 2006


There have been signs, rising up into my consciousness, telling me that I'm old. They're hard, getting harder, to ignore.

-- Whenever I shop at Safeway these days, and I finish payment, the helpful cashier always asks me, "Do you need help out?" The last time this happened, I looked balefully at the two plums and small carton of milk I had purchased, and said, almost spat, "No." I thought to myself, Do I look like I need help out?? "Thank you," I meekly said out loud to the cashier.

-- Two weeks ago, I noticed that my local Sizzler in San Leandro changed their age limit from 55 to 62 for their Senior meals. That means I can no longer order any of the Senior meals, which are really a good deal. Not only do you get the little steak with rice for less money than the regulars, you also get a free salad bar added on. But I'm not yet 62, so I stopped ordering it. (I think I slipped once, before I noticed the change, and ordered it by mistake; the difference was about 2 minutes. I left the difference in tip.) However, the cashiers are STILL giving me the senior meal! Without my asking for it! The mere mention of the words "Hibachi chicken" seems to get me the chicken, the rice, AND the salad bar plate! Not every time, but often.

-- Nobody questions me or sneers at me when I sit on the BART benches for seniors/disabled.

-- I still like Star Trek.

-- I went to a Temescal cafe the other day. Aaron and his new company's members were having a meeting. I stayed out of the meeting, waiting for it to be over, and sat comfortably at a table, reading my two newspapers. (Sports sections first, of course.) After about 15 minutes of reading about Chavez and company, and sipping my Earl Grey, I looked up and glanced around at the crowd. All were youngish, most 25 and younger. Three had computers, as the cafe advertised "Free Wi-Fi!" The cafe even boasts two stand-alone, humongous computers with internet connection, for a price. In fact, those godzillas nearly took up a quarter of the cafe. But I was the only one with a newspaper. The only one! Nobody in their twenties seems to read newspapers. While I get a lot of my news from the internet (mostly yahoo!), I still get a real external physical feeling of comfort from holding the pages of a full, long page filled with inky revelations.

Yes, there are some signs, staring me in the face. I try to counter such signs. I try to keep up my walking. I figure nobody can be old if they can walk 3 miles in one hour. I also try to keep up with the latest trends. I may not understand what they really are and what their real impact is, but at least I'll know about them.

I take comfort in all of that, but I'm still watching for signs.

No comments: