Saturday, October 18, 2008

On Notice: Old People

Don’t get me wrong, I think ageism is a horrible thing, as are almost all isms when you come down to it, but sometimes these geezers get the reputation they deserve and no one ever seems to call them on it.

Rest assured, my friends, that I will allow that travesty to continue no longer! It’s time someone stood up to the “Greatest Generation,” and since I have nothing better to do…

For the most part, I like old people, and even the ones I don’t like, I try to respect. I’ve gone on record before about getting caught in marathon conversations lectures from lonely geriatrics, and the seeming shock and awe I’ve conjured by holding doors and performing other acts of politeness, but I’ve got news for you old people, you may have put in more hours here on earth, but that doesn’t make the planet yours!

I found myself in a situation I’ve not been in for quite some time this past week. I was in a grocery store at around 9:30 a.m. If you ever want an example of how old people think they own the world, this is where you’ll want to make your observations.

Shopping carts must have some fountain of youth-like properties because, if you give a senior citizen a cart, all of the sudden their like a 22 year old kid in a bar with beer balls. I swear they go bumping into people just because they can. And after your ankle gets rolled by one of these hard ass geriatrics and you turn around to give them the look of death, you find them starring back at you with a look that can only be interpreted as: “Oh yeah, what are you going to do about it?”

And if the cart pushers are bad, the motorized wheelchair carts are twice as much so! Apparently, having one of those motorized carts is akin to being a double-0 operative in the service of Her Majesty, you get a license to kill. I had the audacity to pull my cart over to the side of the aisle so I could load a couple cases of Diet-Rite into it when one of these kamikaze grannies, whose sides spilled so far over the sides of the seat that they looked like actual saddle bags, actually rammed me.

Is there some law about keeping those things in the right hand lane? I mean, the left hand side was blocked as well, but the center of the aisle was wide open. Not good enough for this lady though, she wanted to travel down the aisle via the space I was occupying so she literally rammed my cart back into me.

I looked up to stare her down and she did it again, raising her eyebrows as if asking me if I wanted a fresh one? Well, I have my limits and rammed her back, before loading another case of pop on board. She was kind enough to not ram me again, but still refused to go around, using the ample space there was to continue on her way. She chose, instead, to stare me down in a manner than any witness may have come to the conclusion that I’d just impaled her cat on a parking lot bollard. Her eyebrows almost broke through her mile-high hair helmet and if I’d taken any more time they just may have made it!

Not a single word was exchanged.

And what’s with the sense of entitlement these old biddies seem to have when it comes to right of way in the aisles? Everywhere I went, it seemed I was intruding upon some old-timer’s preferred path and in every instance, they certainly felt entitled to it.

Did I mention that this entire trip to the store happened in less than 20 minutes? I can only imagine the beating I would have taken had I needed to do some real shopping! Fortunately, I was able to escape right before I lost all patience and had to hit someone’s granny.

Sadly though, I never really recovered from being on the brink of granicide and so this very morning, when I went to Dunkin Donuts for a nice hot cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich and saw a car literally parked in the very center of two parking places with a bumper sticker that read: My Grandson is an Honor Student at Lincoln Jr. High, I felt the proverbial camel’s back snap.

Sure, I could have parked in one of the many other spots available on the other side of the building, but I chose to park sideways right behind this lady, effectively blocking her in.

I was in line for only a few moments, and boy was I happy they had a long line there today, when lil granny two-spot came back inside and asked in a highly annoyed voice, “Who’s black car is that blocking me in?”

I drive a Jeep, not a car, so I was certain she wasn’t talking to me and ignored her. She then said, in a slightly more agitated voice, “Excuse me, who’s black truck is that out there?”

Well, it’s not a truck, as you and I both know, but what the hell, I knew she was talking to me, so I replied, “You mean the black Jeep?”

Normally, I don’t care if you call it a Jeep, a truck, a car or a rolling spaceship, but I felt snobbish, so what the hell right? She skipped the lesson in automobile identification completely though and told me that she was in a hurry and that I needed to move it so she could get out.

If she hadn’t been directly in the center of two spots, I may have been a little nicer about it and moved it for her once I’d inconvenienced her by making her come back in, but she was blatantly owning the world with the way she parked and I’m a big believer that you can, in fact, teach old dogs new tricks, so I told her that I’d be out as soon as I got my coffee.

She protested. When I say she protested, what I suppose I really mean is that she got beet red and explained to me in no uncertain terms that she was in a hurry and I needed to move my Jeep NOW!

Her mistake, of course, was calling it a Jeep. Having already proven to myself that this particular old dog was capable of learning new tricks, I was resolved to teach her, as Mr. Rogers once taught me, that sharing is fun—especially parking spaces!

So, when I explained to her that, I too was in a rush and couldn’t afford to get out of line and then have to wait at the back of the line when I got back inside. She, of course, felt implied that I should have thought about that before blocking her in—and honestly, I truly do love it when a plan comes together, because that’s when I got to say this to her:

“Well if you’d only taken up one parking place, instead of two, I’d have had room to park beside you and not block you in at all, but since you took up two, I had no choice—I’m in a hurry!”

With no apparent reply, she stalked out to the parking lot and laid on her horn until I emerged with my coffee. I have to say, no one actually said anything to me, but you just couldn’t mistake the looks of admiration and gratitude the adoring fans I’d made amongst the patrons and proprietors. I was truly surprised that I was asked to pay, if I’m being honest.

I, being the polite young man my mother raised, smiled brightly at the honking lunatic lady in her 78 Buick as I took my sweet time getting in and arranging myself comfortably before pulling out of the lot.

Of course, I don’t think all old people are rude, but I don’t think it would hurt to have television shows that taught senior citizens valuable lessons, like how to share, how to have good manners and the value of being polite!

And it should start with the erasure of the “citizen” part of their name. Why do they get to be citizens when I’m just a middle-aged guy? I mean, if there were teen citizens and young adult citizens, then I’d be okay with it, but the seniors have stolen citizenship in much the same way that Africans, Asians and Mexicans have stolen the title of Americans. Where’s my title of citizenship or Americanism huh?

Well no more. Until they start acting their age, I’m advocating that we simply call them “old-timers.” Titles should be earned and walking around under the assumption that you own every bit of public thoroughfare is just cause for having your title revoked!

Consider yourself warned old-timers! Straighten up your act or we’re going to start pushing you out to sea on rickety old rafts and actually getting our fair share of the social security we’ve been paying for all of our mid-length lives!

You’ve been warned!!!


Anonymous said...

"Beer balls"!!!! must. steal. this.

Ramona said...

Have you ever heard of this site?
It's great. There have been plenty of times that I wished I had printed one of these bad boys out.

Catharsis said...

that...made my nite. im going to have to remember the parking thing...for future reference. peace'd.