It happened today. For the first time. I always knew it was coming but I guess you’re never prepared.
“Are you using your senior discount today,” the clerk at Kroger asked.
“No,” I said automatically. Then, “What’s the age for senior discount?” I wanted to know how old she thought I looked.
“Fifty-five,” she replied.
“Uh…” I started to speak.
“No, Boo,” the lady bagging groceries chimed in. She was older. About my age. “It’s sixty here.” she continued. “Fifty-five some places but sixty here.”
“What’s the age for senior discount?” a voice behind me asked, not hearing all the conversation.
I turned to face the tall, slender blonde with a pony tail, dressed in running shorts and tank top as the cashier repeated, “Fifty-five.”
“Oh,” the tall blonde said, looking toward me.
“I wasn’t old enough either,” I smiled. “I’m still between legal drinking age and the senior discount,” I said as I headed out the door with my shopping cart.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. I could be insulted that the cashier thought I was a senior. I could be mad that I didn’t get a discount. I could be happy to be so young that I don’t qualify. Knowing that the blonde behind me was about my age and still looked hot somehow gave me confidence. Or was it hope? No, I didn’t look that hot when I was thirty. Still it felt better than if I’d been identified as about the same age as the little grey haired lady who checked out in front of me.
I remember years ago a business friend who was prematurely grey told me about being asked the same question at a diner. He said that when he teased the waitress about thinking he was old enough she further insulted him with, “Well, we’re supposed to ask anyone who looks old enough.” He was quite insulted.
I think I’ll just avoid grocery shopping on senior discount day and enjoy the last few years of my youth.