I turn 66 in July–Social Security at last!
Having worked continuously since the age of 14, and paid more or less continuously into “the system,” I will receive 1300 and change per month. I know that’s pretty “entitled” of me, so thank you.
Anyway, I have to say I am really digging being an old person.
The other day, for example, after noon Mass, the priest announced that lunch and bingo for “seniors” would follow in the parish hall.
I was ready to dash off to the gym. But I was also hungry, so I thought What the heck, I’ll stick my head in. I expected maybe Spaghettios but no–damned if my beloved Church hadn’t actually laid out a pretty decent spread–fried chicken, a Caesar salad, rolls and butter, Trader Joe’s lemonade, sliced melon.
Sign me up! I thought, filled a plate, and insinuated myself into a table of other elders.
These consisted of one guy, a dapper fellow who maybe fixed watches, and three women, one of whom had set aside a walker, who regarded me warily. The centerpiece consisted of a huge pile of bingo cards and a slew of colored plastic chips.
“Hey there!” I brayed, grabbing a drumstick with my fingers “So whadda they give you for prizes?”
Four sets of mortified eyes fastened upon me. Four faces averted.
“You know. Loot. What kind of stuff do ya get if you win?”
After a pained silence, I managed to worm out the single strangled phrase “Gift certificate.”
“Like to where? Anyplace decent? And for how much?”
They professed not to know–no-one at the table they said, had ever won. “Well doncha ask the people who do win?” I badgered, but to no avail.
Anyway, the food was good and after profusely thanking everyone in sight, I had a nice walk around the Cal Tech campus.
Another benefit of being ancient is movie discounts. At the Laemmle Playhouse 7 down the street from me, for example, a first-run matinee is six bucks for geezers. Then this week I discovered the Regency Academy which, you don’t even have to be old, is $2.50 all day!
In fact, the senior tie-in isn’t so much the reduced price as that, it’s true, at this point you are just a tiny tad tired sometimes! Settling into a comfy seat and watching a decent film in the middle of the day once every three or four months seems kind of attractive in a way it didn’t quite, hardly ever, a decade or so ago.
Yesterday, for example, I attended a 2:40 screening of Game Night. The film itself was a departure from my usual fare: documentaries about ballet, cults, and dysfunctional families; grim existential dramas from Japan: Drunken Angel, High and Low. I’m always half-afraid the Puritan work ethic police are going to rise up in the dark and arrest me for lolling about in the middle of the day. But they didn’t, and even though the movie was kind of violent, though in a “fun” way if that makes sense, I totally enjoyed it! I had no idea of course who the leads were and afterward looked them up. Oh that’s Jason Bateman!
From there, I did go to the gym and here’s another perk of “getting on”–lately it’s dawned upon me that I don’t so much mind working out: I mind changing.
I’m not even kidding, getting out and in and out and in to a pair of pants, and bending down for the shoes and so forth, is just painful! So I myself have recently just started doing my little routine in my street clothes. I mean who cares, except for Nike and Adidas who would have you believe no-one can do 20 minutes on the elliptical unless they’re in black stretch pants with a stripe up the side and a pair of 120-dollar sneakers. It’s not true, people!
Seriously, “the young folk,” if they notice us at all which I’m quite sure they don’t, are probably amazed people my age have the balls to go to the gym at all, never mind rate what we’re wearing.
Anyway, so while I was there I looked over and saw a gray-haired gent, a retired banker perhaps, who was doing a set of very leisurely leg extensions in a smart khaki windbreaker, dress shoes, and a nice blue pullover.
I was at least in a tank, black jeans and sneakers, but this guy had taken things up a whole notch. That’s my man! I thought. I almost went over, shook his hand, and said, “Hey dude, let’s just start showing up in our bathrobes!”
More fun ahead.