“I have to ask,” the cashier said almost sheepishly, “are you a senior?”
The question was innocent enough since I was accompanied by some of my favorite church ladies, several of whom have white hair, but I was caught off guard.
I wanted to say, “I have been living my 39 years to the fullest and wouldn’t go back a day in my life, but don’t rush me forward.”
However, all of my deep-breathing pastoral calming techniques malfunctioned and instead I said, “I feel like throwing my wallet at you.”
Sigh. I really said that.
Sometimes words of grace and mercy roll off my tongue like gold, but more often I succumb to my lifelong “foot-in-mouth” diagnosis. This was clearly one of those more oftens.
It gets worse.
“Well,” the cashier replied, somewhat embarrassed, “some businesses start including seniors at 50.”
“What?!” I gasped, realizing that she was certain I was at least 50. “I’m not even 40! This conversation has spiraled quickly. I can’t believe this is happening right now!”
Meanwhile, the ladies hearing the conversation were struggling to contain bursts of laughter.
“Look, how about I just pay you and leave so I can nurse my bruised pride,” I said, laughing, never thinking I should have at least asked for the senior discount or even a free meal after that fiasco.
I walked out joking with the ladies and mentally recalled lines to a poem I wrote years ago titled, “Coming of Age.” Ironically, I can’t remember it all, neither can I locate it (senior moment?), but I remember the following…
“A few more pounds found their way to my thighs and a crow left it’s footprints around my eyes… so bring on the wrinkles and sagging breasts. I’ll live a full life ’til I’m laid out to rest.”
That’s me on the left, sipping tea with my lovely and quite young bestie. If this is senior living, bring it on!
From now on I will practice more composed responses to the “are you a senior” question. That poor cashier is probably still nursing her embarrassed ego. Whatever my age, I hope I can always respond that my life has been lived to the fullest.