Tag Archives: senior citizen

Senior Shopping Showdown

Photo by Rita Mantarro,
National Geographic

I’ve seen some crazy things in my life, been in some scary situations. I’ve been grocery shopping in the Middle East where people were being beheaded across the street from the store, but I’m not kidding when I say my adventure to my rural middle-Michigan grocery store yesterday morning was far more harrowing than that. Honestly, it was the perfect storm: Social security and unemployment checks had hit the banks the night before and it was senior shopping day during a pandemic. In other words: Dante’s Second Circle of Hell.

My only explanation for how I got caught in the Blue Wave – the crush of blue-haired old ladies and old guys praying their prostate would hold up long enough to get through the checkout line – is that I’ve completely lost track of what day it is. Obviously Blursday the Fortyteenth of Maprilay is when seniors get to go to the store first. At some point I’ll be offended that no one stopped and carded me for proof I was old enough to be there. If only someone had!

Seniors are ruthless. They’re taking on the produce department like they’re storming the beaches at Normandy! I got body-checked by an old lady wearing a ski mask and elbow-length Playtex Living Gloves as we were both reaching for the last package of 90% lean ground beef. I now bear the scars of that battle lost. I can only guess that, at that age, there’s not much more to live for than Mexican-blend shredded cheese in a resealable package so screw social distancing if I happen to be in the way of that.

Seniors also have the highly developed survival instincts of alligators which explains why they’ve lived this long. One old guy “accidentally” spilled a carton of fresh blueberries on the floor, I’m sure, thinking that if I slip and fall, it’ll give him extra time to get to the bread aisle before me. The rest of the world is dying of CoVid-19 and I’m dying of blueberry-induced trauma.

On the bright side, God is particularly fond of me so I was able to score an 18-count MEGA roll package of toilet paper. I only bought one, naturally, and to pay my good fortune forward, I loaded one for the grandma next to me. Of course, she could no longer see to drive with it in the basket of her motorized cart but this in no way changed her level of navigational competency.

Needless to say, I will not be back to the store for quite a while. At least not until I’ve recovered from this experience which could take a lifetime!

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My Dad is a Seenager

My Dad: The Senior Teenager

My dad recently announced that he is officially a seenager. A what? This sounds to me like he’s aged into being senile, but, at this point, I’m not going to talk him out of that. Clarifying, he explained he’s now a senior teenager. When I realized what that was, I suddenly have life goals! Basically, he has everything he ever wanted as a teenager only 70 years later. Everything he wanted without any of the hazards!

As a seenager, he doesn’t have to go to school or work and sleeps as late as he wants every day. He takes naps if he wants because, if he feels like it, he can stay up all night watching Netflix. (He doesn’t. He still doesn’t last much past 9pm, if we’re honest).

He’s got his own place where he makes all the rules and no curfew, plus a monthly allowance! My dad still has his driver’s license and his own car. (Yes, it’s a 2009 Camry with 40k original miles and a cassette player, but he still listens to cassettes, so it’s okay.) That driver’s license also gets him into bars and the liquor store. He doesn’t even have to sneak! It’s great.

Seenagers wear whatever they want as they are past needing to impress anyone. Things like shoelaces and belts become a point of pride more than fashion. How many at that age are relegated to Velcro and elastic waistbands? Dad can grow whatever hair he has left down to his butt crack and absolutely no one is going to tell him he can’t. (Don’t do it, Dad.)

I don’t really worry about him running around with a bad crowd of other seenagers. Or walking around with a bad crowd, I don’t think any of them would run even if they were being chased. From what I can tell, the people he hangs out with aren’t going to turn up pregnant, cook meth or fail English 4. Nobody’s getting drafted, enlisting, or worried about college applications. They can all go to R-rated movies together and pay half-price for the matinees. It’s a great group of “kids.”

And at the end of the day, those seenagers aren’t scared of anything. They’ve already faced down the really scary things life can dish out, so why be scared? And, hey, they don’t have acne. So, you go, Dad!

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Over the Barrel

CrackerBarrelPuzzle_lgI had never eaten at a Cracker Barrel restaurant until this past week. But, too, I’m also the person who never watched an episode of “Dallas” – probably for the same reasons. It took less than 34 seconds to realize exactly why I would probably never go back to Cracker Barrel again any time soon: I don’t ever want to be that old. When you suddenly find yourself eating at Cracker Barrel just know you are on a slippery slope to the Luby’s buffet and a full-care nursing home.

Straight up, Cracker Barrel is basically a senior citizen theme park. Those rocking chairs on the porch are just age-appropriate thrill rides. Think rollercoasters for people over 65. Stopping at Cracker Barrel for dinner is not unlike going on a fall foliage bus tour without having to get up the steps of the bus or obtain a doctor’s release from the six medical specialists who currently file on your insurance. At the end of the day, you still get to eat with a huge group of other old folks then exit through the gift shop.

Oh yes, the gift shop. Where else can you get unlimited refills on your ice tea, purchase a cotton/poly blend quilt for $79.99, and pick up a complete collection of Tony Bennett’s greatest hits on CD? Not since the old Stuckey’s sold those weird pecan roll things has there been such a flurry of excitement in the retail world.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the food wasn’t good at Cracker Barrel. In their defense, there was no blue Jell-O on the menu. You still have to wait to progress into your Luby’s stage of decline to get that. I will warn you, though, that this is not the place to go if having your food touch each other is going to trigger you. I spent most of my meal digging the green beans out from under the mashed potatoes. This wasn’t a problem for me, but I know this can cause PTSD in others.

The greater concern for me was if I was given an automatic membership into AARP with my meal. I’m not sure I’m quite ready for that (regardless of my eligibility). Nor am I willing to purchase shoes with Velcro closures. Sorry, Cracker Barrel, but give me another 20 years and I’ll be back.

         

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And at my age…

old_lady-1So I had another birthday. It seems they come at me a little faster each year. I’m not complaining, because it’s better than not having them show up at all ever again. My dad is quick to point out that years are like toilet paper: the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes. I think I still have a few more squares left on my roll, but I’ll admit I’m no spring chicken. I’m not even sure I’m a summer chicken anymore, for that matter. Regardless, I am now at an age where there are a few things I just will no longer do.

I will no longer worry about my vanity. I’m not too proud to ask for my senior discount. Over 50? Oh yes, ma’am! Give me that additional 10% off. I was recently at a little community concert and asked for a senior ticket. The woman selling them squinted her eyes, tipped her head back to scrutinize me through her bifocals, and said it was only for those over 50. HA! I whipped out my driver’s license (it has a little piece of scotch tape folded over the end so I can get it out quickly – that’s what you do when you’re over 50) and told her to read it and weep. Or I could read it for her since it wasn’t in big print. Now give me the $3 off, sister!

I will no longer drive a vehicle that can accommodate two kids, their friends, their sports gear, enough groceries for a tribe of indigenous people, and has the option for video screens in the back. Not that I would ever have video screens in my mom-mobile anyway.  “Quit crying kiddies and look out the window. That’s called life out there.” I now drive something small and sporty with seat warmers and a sunroof. My youngest son cannot possibly fit in the back seat, and I’m okay with that. He can drive himself in my cast-off, video-free, mom-mobile because every teenager should drive the family car at some point in their life. It builds character. I drove a ’72 Pontiac Bonneville. It was two-tone: light blue and rust. I’m a better person for it.

I will no longer make friends based solely on my children’s activities. I’ve met great friends sitting on bleachers, but at this point, I want more than physical proximity and a shared hatred for team fundraisers. It’s what happens when you hit 50+. So, yeah, Happy Birthday to me!

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