I’m beginning to feel more than a little bitter and angry toward old people. I am also starting to have fantasies of all the amazing ways I plan to take advantage of my old age. You’d better all pray I don’t make it to 80 because I am compiling a list of some awesomely crazy stuff to do. I get that you older folks have lived lives and have probably survived more than your fair share of tragedies and injustices, but that does not make it okay for you to blatantly use your age to get things. Demand respect. Say what you think when you think it. Do not cut in line when people have been patiently, or not so patiently waiting, for over ten minutes to pay for their groceries.
This evening I made a stop at my local health food store. It is a wonderful, but very small store that has just about everything you could dream of at reasonable prices, hence the fact that half the neighborhood was there tonight. As I am patiently waiting on line this very old man shuffles toward the couple in front of me. He says, “I would like to go beyond you.” The younger man obligingly steps aside allowing the old man to shuffle toward the vegetables in the far corner saying, “I would like to go beyond me too.” The couple, the woman behind me, and I chuckle a little. We’ve all started to grow impatient with the wait. We are rapidly losing the extra time these health foods are supposed to be buying us.
As the wait drags on the old man shuffles back toward the line, looks at the young man, and says, “Thank you for holding my space in line.” The younger man looks at him then raises his eyebrow and looks at me. I can clearly see he is looking to me to say something, to right this rapidly going wrong situation. I am speechless. The younger man says, “I made a joke. I hope it was a good one.” He is clearly not one for direct communication. The old man is clearly not one for abiding by the rules of society. The younger man looks at me again, now the woman with him is giving me funny faces to right this wrong as well. I am an innocent bystander about to lose her place in line! Why is it now on me to fix this problem when I am not the one who opened my big mouth in the first place? I hear the woman behind me start to sigh.
The younger man finally says, “I think there is a line.” The old man clearly does not give a shit that there is a line, he is about to score a spot on this line now one customer away from the checkout counter. I finally, after many more weird looks from the couple in front of me, say, “I don’t know how the people behind me are going to feel about this.” It has fallen on deaf ears. The old man is staring into space not paying any mind to anyone else. He has gone to his happy place. I try to practice compassion. I try to tell myself it was only one more person in front of me, really not that much time at all. I have done a good deed. I have let this old man, who clearly has less time left on earth than I do, spend less of his precious time waiting on a line. And then I snap back to reality. Fuck that old geezer! He just cut. How dare he?!? What a jerk. Oh wait, I’m practicing being a compassionate human being.