How old would you be
if you didn’t know how old you are?
Aging or just plain getting older is a bit of a conundrum to me.
As I age I look around at every day occurrences and can often see them with wise eyes.
This is good.
Sometimes I say goodbye to people knowing that I will never see them again.
This is sad.
Sometimes I forget how old I am.
This is a concern.
Sometimes, when I hide behind my age, I let opportunities for life and connection slip away.
Just when I was feeling like a bit of a relic on my recent trip to Arizona for a tango festival, I overheard this street conversation on aging:
“ I ‘m 62 years old” he said. “How old are you?”
She kept walking down the street at a brisk pace.
He was grizzled, black, and appeared comfortable on the street. His dark, thick beard was flecked with grey. She had brown, shoulder-length bushy, dyed hair. Her stuffed back-pack weighed her down. Her white face and neck were lined, tanned, and weathered. The woman had a droopy double chin and a bit of a limp. She was older.
“How old are you?” he repeated as he followed after her.
She stopped abruptly, “How come all you want to know is how old I am when I am trying to tell you something important?”
He took a step back. Her response was not a good sign.
“I’m just saying I’m 62,” he said earnestly. He was like a street person zeroing in on a handout. As if his age qualified him for as much.
“I don’t want to talk to you because you are not listening to me” she retorted. As they side-walked down the street he hovered closer to her, working his trade on what seemed like an experienced tourist.
I had been walking behind them during this interchange. My proximity to them was at the point of embarrassment so I walked past them as they hovered in a fairly personal conversation. I speculated on the dialogue that I could no longer hear.
Something must have sorted itself out because I was just about to eat my quinoa salad lunch when the pair walked into the same restaurant. They took a pair of high stools, at the bar, and proceeded to watch a home improvement show on TV. It was early afternoon as they enjoyed some suds and organic nachos. Easy jazz played in the background and his body moved slightly to the music. She was motionless yet attentive to his musings.
As the lunch hour wore on he and she would tentatively lean into each other when they talked. Heads touched. Quiet laughter. He was charming, she demure. There was some handholding and knee rubbing under the bar tabletop.
Acting old had become a side dish for the afternoon.