Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Getting Old Ungracefully

Last Saturday, I had what could euphemistically be called a ‘senior moment.’ I was in a local retailer, picking up a prescription and a bag of butterscotch hard candies. I went up front to the cashier, ‘Susan’ according to her nametag and all of maybe twenty-years-old, and produced my credit card. She gestured towards a little blue machine on the edge of the counter.

I smiled, in what I hoped was a good-natured fashion. “I’m used to just handing my card to the cashier.”

Susan nodded. “Yeah, I get that a lot.”

I swiped the card, no problem. However, when the menu came up, I was at a complete loss. I stood there for a moment, staring at the screen, wondering which button I was supposed to push. The text could have been hieroglyphics for all I could tell. This must have taken a few seconds, as Susan suddenly spoke.

“Push the ‘Enter’ button,” she said.

I did so. Strange symbols flashed across the screen. I realized I was growing increasingly anxious. My world had focused on this one particular thing and I was at a loss to understand what was going on. I fought the urge to say ‘stupid machine!’ while waving a cane.

“Push the ‘Okay’ button,” Susan suggested.

I pushed it. There was a beep and a receipt started to spit out.

I smiled weakly at her. “I’m not familiar with this model,” I said, hoping to suggest that there were other models that I could use efficiently, like some sort of credit-card automaton.

She nodded. “Some of our older customers have a problem with those.”

I started to nod in agreement, but then realized that to her, I was one of those ‘older customers.’ I was, quite literally, old enough to be her father. I decided, right then and there, that this would not do. I was not old. I was young, hip, and quite possibly, cool.

And then I must have fallen asleep, because the next thing I knew, Susan was asking if I was okay and I was drooling. I assured her that I was fine and set out. I was not old. I would not go gently into that good night. And I would prove it. All I needed were some parachute pants and a piece of cardboard to do some break dancing.



Michael Suttkus, II said...

I know how you feel, fellow eternal youther. The "we know who you are" internet ads just recently shifted from sending me generic dating service ads to "Women seeking OLDER men" ads. Gee. Thanks.

Then I'm watching TV with my mother and an ad for "Dancing with the Stars" comes on. It ran a whole list of names of the stars appearing on their show.

"You know you're old," Mom says, "When you don't know who any of these people are."

I, of course, only recognized two of them.

Lurklen said...

Don't worry I'm only 22 and I do that all the time, sometimes it's like your brain just goes out of synch with the technology of the world. And you just stare at it in incomprehension wondering what the hell this new gizmo thing is. And then someone very gently helps you, almost but not quite patting you on the head and sending you on your way.

I've done the same thing with a bank machine, and one of those self serve grocery counter things.

Citarra said...

You're not old, you just need to clean your glasses. Or get new contacts. Whichever.

Jason Janicki said...

Wow, Michael, that has totally happened to me too! I hadn't really thought about it, but yeah. I do the same thing with celebrities. The only reason I know who Kim Kardashian is is because she's on the cover of magazines in the check-out counter ;)

True, Lurklen, though it's worse if you're drooling at the time :)

Or maybe a seeing eye dog :) Speaking of which, can they operate ATMs? I should find out.

What was done said...

Getting old is only in our mind.
Age never prevented people from doing things:

Jason Janicki said...

Huh, interesting site, What was done.