I mentioned in another post that I am now at the mercy of the Las Vegas transit system since my vehicles are all in need of substantial service. It’s a humbling experience, to be sure.
There was a time not too long ago that I used to drive by bus stops in my own vehicle, sneering at those little people and unfortunates with rightous indignation for having to take public transportation. “Hahaha!” I would think as I drove by. But, alas, I am now one with them. They are now my traveling comrades… fellow urban compatriots. It is I who now watches those drivers who drive by my bus stops in their own vehicles and now sneer at ME. The bastards!
Ok.. well.. I can adapt and I can see some positives out of all this. One of those positives is that the Las Vegas RTC recognizes as seniors for their senior fare discount as being anyone 60 and over. Ha! I qualify! You see, in this world of aging baby boomers the senior discounts cetain businesses and agencies might offer run the gamut in minimum age requirements from 55 to 62. Now, for the most part I am a tad reluctant in taking these discounts (even veteran’s discounts). Part of it has to do with not feeling my age and prefering my discount go to those more disadvantaged and handicapped. Part of it is a business sense that the younger are paying for the older to get by cheaper in life. I’m not crazy about that kind of charity. The other part is that I am still in some level of aging denial; I don’t feel older hence I’m not getting older (or so I’m trying to convince myself).
But I don’t turn down EVERY discount. There are certain justifications. Generally I can get into a movie theater cause they will allow 55 and older. I really don’t feel so badly about that because I like movies and paying less to see one for any reason is a good thing. But it wasn’t easy accepting that discount in the beginning either. In fact, I never asked for a movie discount. There were a couple occassions when some teenager ticket person (female of course) would give me change for my twenty.. and it was more than I thought. “Oh, I gave you the senior’s discount.” I was told.. more than once. You mean, I look old enough to get a discount without you even carding me or something? That was a disconserting reality check. But ok. I can deal with a cheaper movie… and quite honestly I am smiling when I do.
Then there’s the restaurants. They all seem to be holding their own on keeping to the minimum age of 62.. first retirement age. So I don’t qualify.. at least for another year. But that’s ok. That feels a little like being on welfare anyway. Motels and hotels seem to offer a little discount for seniors over 60.. but it’s the same discount for being a AAA member or a member of some other travel club. You can’t ever combine those discounts either. So in those cases I can retain some pride by taking the AAA discount rather than the senior’s discount.
Bottom line is that I am still at that age where I don’t wish to be reminded that I am at that age. Yeah, physically the Type II is starting to mess with my feet a little and somehow I managed to get a couple of those bone spurs in each ankle.. so I am not walking with the light footed vigor of days past. But generally, I don’t feel old nor do I really look my age (uh.. I am told I look younger… which is why they are my friends). So today was a somewhat somber day. I had to take the bus to the transit center to get my senior’s dicount fare ID card. Using that I pretty much can travel at half the price as younger people. I don’t like it… I am not old. But I am succumbing to financial pressure.
So I get the nice new shiney ID card and I am on the bus heading back home. An odd puff of seasonal something enters my nose and I do a subtle sneeze into my coat sleeve. A voice from behind me.. a young black fellow with his girl… sounds off… “Bless you, old man.”
S’cuse me, bud, but just where do you see an old man around here? I had to force out the obligatory, “Thank you.”
When I got home and walked (trudged?) past the mirror I did see an old man standing there. I have a professional history of working in suit & tie environments.. and even my current job requires a suit & tie. But in general bus travel I’ve adopted the “bum look” for comfort; I wear weathered jeans, a black jacket, white velcro shoes, and I have a travel shoulder bag. And what’s this wrinkley skin thing going on under my chin? Yikes. I have become that which I have feared becoming.
Yeah, I guess this old man needs all the blessings he can get.