We all react to age in different ways.
I take the denial route. Each morning in the mirror I see a 22-year old Steve. The same Steve who seems to operate the attitude controls in the cockpit of my head.
That attitude makes some of my other observations a bit disconcerting. Like when I balance myself while climbing down from chairs. Or when I try to run and find my body about a half block behind my mind.
But those variegations in my life are easily reconciled. I usually just ignore that they exist.
Until yesterday morning. I decided to take the shuttle bus from Salem to Bend to visit my mother and brother. When I got to the front of the line to buy my ticket, I said, “One adult. One way. Bend.” The clerk looked me straight in the face and asked: “Senior?”
Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the question. After all, by some standards, I am a senior. AARP has tried to include me in joining them at the trough of government benefits for well over a decade. Even though I do not yet qualify for the more traditional 65+ category. At least, for a few years.
Even so, it is a bit jarring to hear the first time. Doubly so because I have long been agnostic about senior discounts. The reasons are not important. Suffice it to say I do not use them.
This time, I did, though. To have declined the offer would have seemed a bit mean spirited on my part. After all, the clerk had no trouble seeing that my brain may not have developed past 22, but the rest of me has been showing the mileage for years.
Who knows? When it is time for me to head back over the Cascades, I may sidle up to the ticket counter, identify myself as a senior, and nap all the way back to Salem.
After all, nothing says senior like a good nap.