One’s concept of old and young seem to change as the years pass. I remember when I was very young asking my aunt how old she was. I think she was in her forties, but she answered, “Twenty-nine.” Then she and my mother laughed. I had no idea what the joke was. To me, back then, twenty-nine was unfathomably old. And now? Unfathomably young.
For many years, I looked young for my age, so the one time I asked for a senior discount that was advertised, I thought there might be a problem proving I was old enough, but the clerk (just a kid) told me she’d already given it me. What a come down that was! I never bothered asking for a discount again; I didn’t think my ego could handle it.
Now I do look my age, even to my age-adjusted eyes. Even if I didn’t look old, I’d know I was because people seem so dang young. I watch the news sometimes with the lady I help care for, and it seems to me that people reading the news are a bunch of children playing at being newscasters. They’re not that young, from mid-thirties to early forties but still, they look like kids to me. But then, to the woman I care for, I look young. “You’re just a kid,” she tells me.
Not that it matters, really. I once was young, and now I’m not. It’s all part of the cycle of life.
Oddly, unlike my aunt, I never told anyone I was twenty-nine. Even when I was twenty-nine, I doubt I told anyone my age. The topic just doesn’t come up. Or perhaps other people aren’t as rude as I was when I was young. Come to think of it, I don’t know what prompted me to ask my aunt her age. I really wasn’t at all rude when I was young. I’m not rude now that I’m not young, either.
This last part has nothing to do with age, but is a follow-up to my water meter dilemma. The meter reader was just here. He checked the meter, and says it’s working fine, that I have no leaks though somehow the meter shows another 4,000 gallons used in the past three weeks, which is impossible. Normally, one person uses about 3,000 gallons a month, and that includes, all indoor and some outdoor water usage, which is what I use in the summer. But it’s winter, and in the winter, I use half of that amount.
I suppose this is more proof that I’m not just a kid anymore; if I were, I wouldn’t have to deal with this mess.
Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.