What a thrill I had at the supermarket this morning!! As I was coming through the checkout line with a single bottle of CHEER, the cutest little teenage checker gave me a huge smile and said, “Are you a singer?” “Why, yes, I am,” I said, perfectly delighted that she may have recognized me. “Okay, then, you get 5% off today!” Suddenly, I wished I had bought more. “How nice,” I said, do you give all singers a discount?” “Oh, no,” she replied. “Just Seniors cuz it’s Wednesday.”
I thanked her politely and semi-staggered to my car trying to mentally calculate that my vain stupidity had just saved me about forty cents. I blamed my poor hearing on the fact that I had just finished swimming and probably still had water in my ears.
While I am fully aware that I have seen more than five decades pass, for some odd reason I am still stuck in my 20’s in my head. When my grandmother was in her sixties I asked her, ‘What does it feel like to be so old.” ‘Well, Dear, it’s only when other people talk to me like I’m old that I realize that I am.” I get it now.
But here is the real beauty of aging if you’re lucky enough to keep at it. A few hours later I was filling my car with gas when a pickup truck with two, cute teenage boys pulled up on the other side of the pump. Suddenly, one yelled out, “Hi, Mermaid!” I turned around to find one of the YMCA lifeguards grinning at me. As we talked, he seemed so proud to know me that by the time I pulled away I wasn’t feeling so old anymore.
However, next Wednesday I plan to take my bruised ego and gray hair straight back to that supermarket. I am loading my cart to the brim and just guess whose aisle I’m going to? (Helen Hudson is the author of, “Kissing Tomatoes,” a memoir detailing the 13 years she cared for her grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. http://www.helen-hudson.com).