"It is the poet's job to remember"
Gerald Stern

Monday, June 28, 2010

Excuse Me?

One afternoon not too long ago, I walked into Dunkin Donuts to get my afternoon cup of what keeps me going. The new, young-thing employee handed over my cup, poised her finger over the register button, looked me in the eye and asked...."Senior?"
"What?" I replied, thinking she must have said "cinnamon" or "sesame seeds" or anything else that could not possibly be inquiring if I was over 60 or whatever the heck the new "discount" age is.
"I said... SENIOR?!," the barely pubescent little snot shot back.
I turned around to see if there was an aged gentleman or a stooped little lady with a walker standing beyond my vision. For once, I was the only customer in the store and there was no mistaking who she was addressing. She got a little impatient. I guess she figured my old brain had taken long enough to process the information and
I was partially deaf to boot because now she shouted it across the counter. "SENIOR CITIZEN! YOU KNOW... DISCOUNT?" Then she repeated it.
I thought about asking her just how old she thought I was, but decided I was afraid of the answer. I already knew she wasn't very bright and shudder to think what decade she'd place me in.
The thing is, no one ever asked before. Not at the movie theater, boarding the train, or at any store on senior citizen 10% off day. I don't have gray hair. I wear contact lenses, not bifocals. Okay, they're bi-focal contact lenses, but you can't tell by looking. My lipstick, when I remember to put it on, does not overflow the confines of my lip line. I don't own one of those fold-out plastic rain bonnets, support hose, or a container of Metamusil. Geez...gimme a break here. I had 3 1/2 inch heels on and I didn't hobble in and lean against the counter to catch my breath.
Like the age I've actually become, this little chickie caught me off guard.
So I smiled my youngest smile and tossed my head as hard as I could without wrenching my neck. I laughed and said, "Oh no, I don't qualify," paid full price for the coffee (tip jar my ass, kiddo) and strode out as fast as possible on those heels...which she didn't have to know were Easy Spirits and comfortable as hell.
What I really wanted to do was reach over the counter, shake her silly by a handful of her thick hair and tell her that she too will one day be old. If she watches her mouth.

No comments:

Post a Comment