I am rocketing along life’s path to old age now – as my grey hair gets more obvious by the day, it’s a constant reminder that I will soon be a ‘junior-senior’. That’s my own description of the 55 to 60 crowd – the gang too old to be called middle aged (at least I don’t think I’ll live until I’m 110), but not yet ‘official’ seniors, eligible for those wonderful seniors’ discounts at restaurants, retail stores, and who knows where else!
And why shouldn’t there be a discount category called “junior-senior”? We could use some perks to ease the slide into old age. It’s a pretty scary experience! First of all there’s the panty-hose thing. I don’t actually bother with panty-hose very often these days – once or twice a decade is more than enough for me. But the last time I had to wear them, I kept reaching down to pull up the saggy ankles, only to realize that the saggy ankles were MY ankles! And no… not just once; I did this over and over, because I’d look down, see the bags, and forget that I’d already tried to “pull them up” several dozen times already.
When I was in university, I never kept a calendar… assignments, tests, appointments, dates (ha! I added that last one so you’d think I was ‘normal’), you name it – it was all up in the ole noggin – complete with built-in reminders. PING! – a bulb would flash in my head and a robot version of my own voice would drone – “Two days until that Stats assignment is due!” Now I just walk from the living room to the den and by the time I get there, I can’t remember why I’m there!
The worst victim of my bad memory is my poor fiddle teacher. She’s been trying to teach me to play songs by ear for a couple of months now (at least I think it’s been a couple of months…) and it always goes exactly like this. She runs through the first four bars of the song and then, amidst some frighteningly horrific squealing and screeching, I finally manage to play almost the same the notes back to her. She smiles her encouragement and plays the next four bars and, again, I eventually manage to scratch out something vaguely similar. Then she inevitably utters the words that vapourize the entire contents of my head…
“Okay, shall we try it from the top?”
These eight words reset my brain as effectively as the CTRL+ALT+DELETE buttons reset your computer. As I stand there rebooting, my face totally blank except for the blinking cursor that is the new twitch in my right eye (yep, did I tell you? I’ve developed a twitch in my right eye…), she might as well be asking me to play the Orange Blossom Special – because I know exactly the same amount of each of them – NOTHING! So back we go to the start and repeat this whole routine another three or four times. She smiles and encourages me throughout.
“There, you’ve got it!” she’ll say occasionally, even though I’m not even making music, let alone playing the song she’s been working through.
We usually get about halfway through the song by the end of the lesson, and I take the sheet music home with me to learn the rest as ‘homework’. But when it comes time to practice, I can’t remember which song in the huge pile of papers is the one we were working on… and none of the titles look familiar. Ho, well – could practice the scales, I think.
Fortunately, there is a good side to becoming a junior-senior. It’s the age where you peak out in the professional world – where you’re old enough that people assume you must know something – really, they figure – you couldn’t possibly be that old and not have learned at least some crap, right? Right! But you’re not so old that people realize think you’re past your ‘best before’ date. However, it’s sort of like your ‘good looking years’ (you know that brief period between your pimply face and your saggy butt?) in that it actually doesn’t last very long, and you’re not really as good looking as you think you are – so don’t get too excited about it! Come to think of it – there’s a certain symmetry to ending it all with a saggy face isn’t there? 😉