Posted in Columns

Senior moment a decade or two early

Apparently, I am over the hill at age 44 (OK, so I’ll be 45 in less than a month – who really counts after 40 anyway?)

I know this because last week, I stopped at the local grocery store to pick up lunch and a few dinner items to save me a trip later.

The nice blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl at the registered greeted me cheerfully as I unloaded my basket onto the counter so she could scan each one and then efficiently dump the item into a bag.

We chatted about the weather and whatever else came to mind. Maybe even about the fajitas I was making for dinner.

I rummaged through my purse, looking for my debit card to pay for my groceries as she totaled the bill.

“Oh!” she exclaimed. “I forgot to ask you, did you want to sign up for our senior discount?” Her blue eyes widened as she waited for the answer.

Wow, that’s crazy – she thinks I’m a senior in high school, I thought.

Wrong.

It hit me all at once. No, she did not think I was a senior in high school.

She meant she thought I was a senior citizen!

I truly did not know what to say. I thought about crying. Then I thought about screaming. I thought about leaping over the counter, pulling her blonde curls and screaming, “I’ll show you a senior discount!”

I wondered when the last time was I dyed my hair – no, the six-week gray stripe was not running across my skull, so that couldn’t have been the reason she thought I was – well, older than I am.

I was wearing practical shoes, but who doesn’t when there’s this much snow and ice in the middle of a real Wisconsin winter?

Truly, I was at a loss for words. I mumbled something unintelligible, grabbed my grocery bags and slunk out to the car to nurse my wounded ego.

Of course, I called my (younger) sister to share my story. I couldn’t understand her response. She was laughing too hard.

I told some of my coworkers as well. They were nice (Sometimes I bring them food, so I suppose they have to be) and said the girl must have been really young, that I don’t look like a senior citizen, yada yada, trying to make me feel better.

One of them said, “So did you say, ‘Sure! I’ll take the discount!’”

Hindsight is 20-20, of course, and I guess when you’re my age you’re lucky to have sight at all.

So I’m thinking next time I see my favorite grocery clerk, I’ll ask her for that discount after all!

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Author:

I'm a writer, editor, photographer and artist living in rural Southeastern Wisconsin. I grew up in Chicago, made my way to the deep woods of Northern Minnesota and then landed here among the cornfields and cows. It's quite simply my happy place.

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