I don’t know if I should be ashamed or proud.
I’ve so far survived birth, life with what I once thought was a dysfunctional family but now appears to be more normal than most, high school, disco and the embarrassing accompanying wardrobe, marriage, young children, adolescent children with drivers’ licenses and the requisite tickets and accidents, two more high school graduations, one college graduation, an empty nest, and a business floundering in a horrible economy. The only things left are grandchildren, old age, and death.
Well, old age is officially upon me, leaving just grandchildren and my demise as the next goals in line.
Yesterday I asked for (and received) a senior discount.
While I am rounding the bend to the middle of my fifth decade and was for one year a member of AARP (I dropped them when I realized their real mission in life is to lobby Congress for their insurance business – besides, they weren’t doing me any favors for my money), I have never asked for a senior discount. I’m not a “senior” and never considered myself one. Back in the day when I was a child, “seniors” were over 60. Heck, I think they were over 65! Somewhere in the last thirty years, the low bar for the senior designation has slipped down to 50.
It seemed like only yesterday when I was carded for alcohol. On a regular basis! In my forties, even!
My husband discovered senior discounts this year. During fairer weather, he enjoys a game of golf with an older guy who sells us used cars. Just for asking for a senior discount, he can get a round of golf with a cart for $20, weekdays on a nice course. My husband is all about saving money, so this is right up his alley.
He can easily pull off asking for a senior discount. Although he's younger than I by nine months, my husband’s hair is more salt than pepper these days. It is, in fact, completely silver at the temples. (He claims his Scandinavian genes are making a late entrance and he is really blond. Yeah. Right.) If hair is an indication, he could have asked for a senior discount years ago.
True, I occasionally dye my hair – not to hide my age, but because I like red, the redder the better – but I have neither the inclination nor the time to subject myself to a regular hair dye these days. The last time I colored was in February before the writers’ conference, so any vestige of Garnier #49 has long departed. What remains is a couple of gray strands at the top of my head that irritate me. I would much rather have a nice, thick swath of gray there, but I can’t tell my head what to do.
Back to the senior discount: yesterday, I went to a toy store I hadn’t visited since my children were very young, looking for a Christmas present for a newly inherited nephew. As I stood in line behind an older couple happily purchasing a Barbie and enough accoutrements to drive the child’s parents insane on Christmas morning, I heard them asking about a senior discount.
“You have to be 50,” the perky clerk replied.
So what the heck? Toys aren’t cheap. When it was my turn to check out, I inquired about the senior discount.
“Ten percent. But you’re not a senior, are you?”
I whipped out my driver’s license. I’ve been one for almost four years.
The clerk apologized, admitting the senior discount is a sensitive subject for some shoppers. They don’t broach it unless asked. “You don’t look 5-,” she said cheerfully.
Like that wise old senior, my father, says: Money is money, honey.
I’m not sure if I’ll use my newfound weapon of senior discount on a regular basis. Maybe I’ll save it for when I get closer to the point of grandchildren or death.