Getting old just kind of sneaks up on you.
The other day I went into town to get some groceries and other supplies. I went by myself which is unusual, as Mark and I usually do everything together, 24 hours a day for the last 20 years or so. This is in stark contrast to most of our friends, who have his 'n hers activities and spend only a few waking hours together every day. It's a very intense relationship we have. He's down with a Coronavirus. No, not THE Coronavirus, but the common cold which is also a type of Coronavirus. It's probably exasperated by all the yellow pollen which is falling like rain right now. I suspect I will have it in a day or two.
Anyway, Mark was passed out and he said to go ahead and get something to eat since he was too tired to make dinner. I stopped at McDonald's because I had a coupon and asked for a cheeseburger a small coffee. The nice lady behind the counter rang it up and said, "Honey, I done rung you up as a senior coffee!" And I smiled because of course, I'm too young to qualify for a senior coffee - right? But it got me thinking, I must look like I'm pretty old, at least to someone in their 20's.
When I got home, I went online and Googled "McDonald's senior coffee" and lo and behold you qualify for this perk at age 55 and above, at most but not all of their restaurants. Mark's birthday is coming up very soon I was kidding him that he'll be eligible for senior coffee, too. He was not pleased.
Note that there are a lot of restaurant discounts for "seniors" which may not require you to be all that senior. Dunkin Donuts has a free donut deal for AARP members. I was a member of AARP at the tender age of 40! Of course, what this means, is that discounts in general abound, such as for veterans at Lowes and whatnot. You just have to look for them. Overall, of course, no one ever got rich on senior coffee or by clipping coupons. On the other hand, if someone offers a discount, take it.
It was only last year we were having a discussion and he said "Can you imagine what it's like to be 60?" I replied, "Ask me in eight months." At the ripe old age of 54 he was still kidding himself that he was in his early 50s, which is almost like being in your late 40s, which is almost like being 30, which - let's face it - isn't far from 20. That's how we lie to ourselves. So it kind of shocked him to realize I was going to be 60.
Old age sneaks up on you...
But then I look at the mirror and see the gray hair and wonder how old age sort of snuck up on me. Of course today, 60 is considered fairly young - or at least my eighty-year-old friends tell me this constantly. It wasn't long ago that it was considered an age at which you were basically ready to check out.
The thing is, I still feel young - at least relatively young. I'm not about to go water skiing ever again. When we were down in Zihuatanejo Mexico twenty years ago, some young boys came up to us to the beach and said, "Senor, do you want to go water skiing?" and I said yes because I was only in my 40s and I thought I could still do that. An hour later I'm lying in my chaise lounge on the beach and writhing in agony. It felt like my back was on fire. Clearly, I was no longer a young man. Today water skiing is completely out of the question. It's a good day when I don't have back pain.
It is interesting how old age sneaks up on you. Things start to hurt one at a time, and pretty soon everything is hurting. Some things come and go, and some things come and then disappear. I had an incident with plantar fasciitis in my foot which was quite painful. But as of late, either my threshold of pain is adopted to this, or my tendons have stretched back out again. I don't know which is the case. Thank you Dr. Scholl!
It doesn't seem like a few years ago that we would make fun of old people standing in line at McDonald's demanding their senior coffee. We laughed because we thought we would never become one of those people. Now the coffee is being offered to me without even asking for it. This is a disturbing development.
But in an odd way, a calming one. One realizes that aging is inevitable and there's not much you can do about it, other than enjoy the ride. As I look back, I can see the signs of my slow decline over the decades. I look back at the things I did when I was younger and they seem like the feats of a superhuman. Starting my own law practice, working on cars, building things, taking risks. Things that today that if I do at all, I do the much more slowly and carefully.
Of course just because I qualify for senior coffee doesn't mean my life is over quite yet. God willing I might have 20 or even 30 years of senior coffee ahead of me. And at $0.70 a cup it's pretty good deal.
I'll take it!