I did a little travel last week. Time away from home with the most important people in my life is good for my soul. I love driving and seeing the countryside go by. But I learned something too.
I recognized that being in my fifties has its privileges and burdens. That’s not so different than any other age. So, in the way that so many have declared so many things the new something else, I am declaring that fifty is the new twenty.
There came a time in the trip where a bottle of wine was just what an unremarkable hotel room needed. I stopped by a grocery, grabbed a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and headed for the check out lanes. The self check out scanner line was short. I scanned the bottle, the price came up on the screen, followed by a prompt to show my identification to the cashier.
Now, I think I already established that I’m a bit older. No one is going to mistake me for a twenty-one year old. I understand the liability issues that force stores to confirm that every one who buys a bottle of wine is over twenty-one; I just happen to believe there is room for common sense in that confirmation process. Read the rest of this entry »
Some time ago…well, I’m 52 so…a very long time ago, I used to gripe to my mother about being in pain. I didn’t have a good reason for it, but my arm or my leg hurt. Mom just dismissed my complaints as growing pains.
Growing pains were a very appealing explanation to eight year old me. I wanted to grow, but it was hard to know when I actually was growing. I wanted results. We tried the marks on the door frame thing to track my increasing height. Unfortunately, when we moved to a new town those marks didn’t move with us. That made those growing pains the only readily available (if inaccurate) sign I had that I was growing.
As I got older, I still had parts that hurt. I could connect those pains with injuries – I’d fallen off a bike, twisted something when I was horse-playing with friends. When I worked in policing I could remember why things were sore. My shoulder was sore from helping carry a 450 lb man down some stairs. My hip was tender after being hit by a thrown television. A lot of things were sore when I was hit by a car. Read the rest of this entry »
I meet a lot of people who complain about getting older. That’s their right, I suppose. You’ll not hear me whine about aging. When a person stops aging, they don’t get much else done. I’ve got too much on my plate right now to stop aging.
Getting older has meant a lot of change for me. My solar sex panel is expanding. A lot of people call me sir. That used to happen at work because of my rank, now it’s because I’m an antique. A kid is now defined as someone under 28. I’m starting to get senior discounts. The ads that are targeted toward me are changing too.
Lots of people say it. They’ll say it to my face. I’ve gotten it at work, I’ve heard it at home. My friends have told me.
I’ve denied it. Without exception, every time they’ve said it, I have said it isn’t true. Perhaps I knew it was so. Maybe I just didn’t want to believe it could be true. I denied it. I ignored the pressure within; the pressure that told me it was true.
Perhaps it’s just that it sounds harsh. Even when people laugh while they’re saying it, even when the context is friendly, it sounds harsh. I didn’t want that. It’d be awful if it were true, so it couldn’t be. Read the rest of this entry »
The Wolf was a block and a half away when I turned toward the coffee shop. There’s a sunny spot on the street where I see him on cool mornings. That’s where he was, sitting on his walker, soaking up a little extra warmth.
I make a point of not driving up to him in a police car when I spot him. Back in the day, me pulling up in a police car was often the start of a bad evening for at least one of us. It just works out better now to let him come around on his own.
When I walked out of the shop with my hot chocolate (with blackberry syrup, trust me on this one) he was out near the driveway. “Good morning, Sarge, God bless you.” I returned the blessing and he turned back toward the street.
I walked toward him. As I got close I spoke quietly – “coming up behind you.” He laughed and asked why I didn’t warn him like that twenty years ago. “You know damned well why I didn’t” I said. He grinned and admitted that he did. Read the rest of this entry »
The fans were streaming toward the exit after another loss by the home team. I wasn’t paying attention to anyone in particular, just watching the wave of disappointed humanity go by. Then, without warning, it happened.
A man came out of the crowd. He yelled over all the other voices around us…
I haven’t seen you in forever, what’s up man? Read the rest of this entry »
So, I’m getting older. I’m older, but I’m not ninety-one. Not yet. I’m just practicing being ninety-one.
My day-to-day job involves working with a partner. Together, we supervise a shift. I’ve been fortunate to have my two best partners as I approach the end of my first career.
Seeing The Line
My old partner retired at the end of 2011. He earned the reputation of being a no-nonsense guy, but the great secret that so many missed about him was that he cared about our work, those who did it, and the good folks in the neighborhoods we worked. Somehow, those he worked for never saw those qualities in him. The people who worked for him are wiser, they miss Curt. I do too.
Bill took Curt’s place on the job, but brought his own style. He is smart. Smart enough to be himself. He will earn the same respect his predecessor did.
Like I said, Curt had a no-nonsense reputation. He didn’t mind disagreeing with management when he decided it was important that they hear from him. But in his last year, something changed.