It was a chilly night, so I decided to take the bus from my office (read: the library) to my home. Not really that much of a trip; it’s just a touch over two miles. Under most circumstances, a nice bike ride.
So I threw the bike on the rack on the nose of the bus and clambered inside. Started going through my change to pay the usual fare ($1.75) when the driver said it was 85 cents to me.
Oh, really? How’s that work?
“Senior citizen’s discount,” he told me.
I’ll take it, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.
It’s not so much the senior thing that bugs me. I’m 56 now, and that status is a reward for not croaking just yet despite my occasional efforts to hasten the process. I don’t mind that, but the fact the driver picked out my senior-ness so quickly was just a little much.
I’m not one of those vain types who tries to look forever young. I learned to cope with pattern baldness 30 years ago, and I finally decided to force the action by shaving the whole thing off. Just got tired of messing with it. I never minded going gray either; it looks sharp on a man.
I’m still trying to get used to bifocals, and my glasses spend more time parked on my head than on my nose. They’re useless at middle distances, like where the computer screen usually is. Plus I have a little cataract action going on, another aging thing.
My face has a few more lines and a little more sag than it used to, but that’s not an issue either.
But I make it a point to keep in shape physically and my mind from losing its edge. I love hanging around young people because I can learn a lot from them, and my energy level (fueled by espresso and bipolar disorder) remains off the charts.
I still think young, am still tech savvy, can still rock around the clock, can still leave ’em laughing, can still jam out 3,000 words standing up, and still keep a good attitude about things.
But some reminders.
A buddy told me I was in good shape for my age, and my (cantankerous) response was “for any age, pal.” Had to whip his young butt on the Palmetto Trail just to get his head straight.
But for some bus driver to pick me out so quickly …
When I turned 55 my older brother — now firmly in geezer territory at 60 — reminded me I was eligible for senior discounts at Denny’s. Gee, Rick. Thanks a pantload.
Besides Denny’s I’m eligible for these discounts at pharmacies and, yeah, the bus. And maybe a plethora of good prices through AARP, though I haven’t got around to membership yet.
But do any of the cool places offer senior discounts? Noooo.
Like, where’s my golden-age special at Guitar Center?
Why doesn’t my Web hosting company offer price breaks for people of my vintage?
Can my age get me a discount when I shop for outdoors gear at Half Moon Outfitters? Doubt it.
But I can get a good price for a walker. Just the thing for hiking the Appalachian Trail.
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