Thursday, June 04, 2009

But I'm Too Young to be Old


It's all over now. I'm done for. I might as well buy myself a nice cane, or a walker, because I've been outed. I'm old.

My neighborhood health food store gives discounts to seniors on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I am usually in there several times a week but am always happy when my visits coincide with one of those days as 10% off their prices is not to be sneezed at.

Today, engaged in conversation with the delightful, certified organic young man at the check stand, I forgot to mention my senior status. He smiled kindly as he announced my total and said, "Do you get any special discounts today?" Of course I do. I'm old as dirt, but while it was lovely of him to be concerned for my pocketbook, my feelings were hurt. I have reached the point at which strangers no longer clutch their throats and gasp, "But you couldn't be a senior!" I thanked him for his tact. "I try," he said. I felt like Granny Clampett. It's amazing how ego can outlast youthfulness. Of course, if my eyesight continues to decline, I will be able to reenter the world of fantasy again one day, especially if a white cane and perhaps a seeing eye dog are in my future. But for now, I am living with cold, hard reality, and it sucks.

Flip reminded me that in our neighborhood, everyone is young, as in 20 or 30-something young. "They think forty is ancient," he said. It was a gallant effort, but after a brief flutter of recognition, failed to make me feel better. My daughter recently remarked that I should live in Europe, where older women are worshiped. I don't know if that applies to older American women, but at this point, I'll take what I can get.

23 comments:

Molly said...

Living in Europe is not for sissies---it's cold there! And it's easier to feel younger if you're warm!

meno said...

Let's stay here and start a revolution wherein older women are revered in this country.

Are you in?

The CEO said...

You young 'uns are all alike, worrying all the time. My wife and I are having our bazillionth wedding anniversary this Saturday. When our last friend asked what we wanted, we both said new teeth. At some point, they pay you to come to the health store so they can put you on the news when the reporter asks you what you attribute your longevity to, and you point at stuff in the store with a gleam in your eye. Pick the private branded stuff if you want to come back often. Think of this as on-the-job training. Oh, and learn to limp.

nick said...

I think it's great I'm entitled to all these over-60 discounts, it doesn't make me feel old at all, just onto a nice little scam! Luckily I'm fit enough not to feel decrepit either, must enjoy it while it lasts. And if anyone regards you with disdain for being "old", just give them a withering look of even greater disdain. How dare they? The young may be young but they still have plenty of failings.

the walking man said...

My mind knows I will never be able to fight with my fists as I once did but no one can convince my heart of it.

Warty Mammal said...

Do you know what really horrifies me? Irene Ryan doesn't look as old in that photo as I seem to remember.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Does it make you feel better if I said, "No way you are old enough to earn the worship of European men."?

furiousBall said...

the sad thing is my daughter also recently told me I should live in Europe where older women are worshiped

thailandchani said...

There are very few western cultures that revere women. We may be screwed there. :)



~*

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Ouch.

I know how that feels. I remember the first time a young man was being polite and insulted me... he called me ma'am at the end of a business transaction and I stopped dead in my tracks.

Ma'am? I'm old enough to be a ma'am?
When the hell did THAT happen?

It was one of those rare moments when everything in your mind comes to a screeching halt and smoke comes out of your ears from the skids in your head.
That was a long time ago.
It doesn't get better.

I didn't know that they worshipped older women in Europe.

Let's go, I'll drive.

;o)

Or we could move to Meno's new country.


Scarlett & Viaggiatore

mrwriteon said...

Well, as Bette Davis said: "Old age isn't for sissies." I find I have had to tap all my reserves for bravery as time goes by.

mrwriteon said...

Oh, and can I get my Mrwriteon blog on your list? It's just me, plain old Ian

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Molly,

I'll see how older women are regarded in Tahiti, then. I can be as reasonable as the next old lady.

Meno,

From your lips to God's ear, lovely one.

Of course I'm in -- are you kidding?!!

Monty,

Guess I'm at that awkward stage between hot young thing and centenarian.

Nick,

It does feel like a scam because I also don't relate to my age very well. But this was the first time it wasn't questioned and even if they didn't mean it, it served as a nice crutch.

Mark,

You can always fight, but at some point it has to be with words. (Not swords.)

Warts,

I had the same impression! She looks like a young person in old age makeup. Wow.

Calvin,

Yes. I feel much better now. 1,000 acorns coming your way.

Van,

No one should question the wisdom of children.

Chani,

My daughter may have me confused with Sophia Loren. I am going to take it and run.

Scarlett,

I still remember the first time someone called me that but it was in the South, where every female past puberty is called "Ma'am" so after the brain freeze lifted, I was able to rationalize. This tactic served me well for many years.

Ian,

I made the change to my blogroll as soon as you mounted your new blog. that's why I mentioned your new monicker, and I was referring to the Bette Davis quote in my post label, slightly changed.

rhubarbwhine said...

I often look in the window, see the old lady there and wonder who it is. Then realise it's actually me. (sigh)

LittlePea said...

I'll be 33 next month. As I've mentioned in a past post I've been saying sentences that begin with any of the following: When I was your age, In my day, When I was growing up, You kids today. Yep.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Rhubarb,

Yes, another of life's cruel little jokes that make nobody laugh. (At least not if they know what's good for them.)

Sweet Pea,

It sounds as if you are getting in practice, but trust me, you have years to go. YEARS.

Of course, when I was your age and growing up in my day, I was just a kid.

Los Angelista said...

You have such a quick wit and are so interesting, so it doesn't really matter how old you are numerically. A cool person is a cool person! But, I do wonder when folks will automatically start giving me the senior discount. I feel like the old lady in my neighborhood and I'm 36... alas, there are no discounts for me yet, but I look forward to the days there are.

Cecilieaux said...

And there I was imagining you a 20-something blonde, buff young California surfer ...

Seriously, I have found myself getting senior discounts at movie theaters even though I am not a senior. I don't try to fool anyone, but a few cashiers -- who look too young for junior high -- just automatically assume I'm a senior.

Maria said...

I am terribly vain. When I was younger, I often got second glances and I um...liked it. So, now that I am 51...well, I seldom even get first glances and I am just vain enough that this always surprises me.

And putting my makeup on every morning is continually sobering. All those crow feet!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Liz,

Wanna trade? I will gladly be 36 again and you can have my old-age discounts.

Cecil,

I'm not blonde.

Maria,

This is not comforting. I'm afraid you'll have to try harder.

The Fool said...

For a slice of reverence with regard to older women...check out Joyce Tenneson's book "Wise Women." It's a celebration of women in their third phase of life...and it is most excellent.

Age is in the heart...Irene Ryan knew that. You're still a spring chicken.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

That Fool is no fool at all.

That's the best response on here.

I'm book shopping now. And, Hearts, you will ALWAYS be a spring chicken.

I hope to God that someday I can be just like you.

;o)

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

heartinsanfrancisco said...

No fool,

I will read that book. Most indigenous cultures treasure their older women and consider them founts of wisdom - it's really only our youth-obsessed society that kicks them to the curb.

Scarlett,

Thank you so much, but take your time and enjoy every stage of life. They are all wonderful in their own way.