Refusing to acknowledge the fact I am aging has turned into a mental battle but there are times, when showing the world that you are, well, older than you act can, occasionally, pay dividends.
Take, for example, the bank.
There’s a bank in St. Maarten that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. They do, however, have a line set aside for the over sixties. Now, I, um, qualify for that line, and you can’t con your way into it because you must show ID. I shunned using this line for the longest time telling myself it was a betrayal of my inner self, an unwelcome admission that the white streaks in my hair are age-related and not the result of years of bleaching by the tropical sun. Nope, I wasn’t having that and so let others use the oldies’ line and instead stubbornly waited hours with the youngsters while hopping from one leg to the other in a sprightly fashion. One day my behavior drew the attention of a security guard who actually put his hand on my shoulder and physically propelled me into the oldies' line. That’s when he found out that shouting and swearing in the bank upsets the other customers and went back to glaring at me from the corner.
This week, after several attempts to deposit a check were met with lines out the door, hastened I might add, by the usual shortage of tellers at the counter, the oldies' line was just too tempting.
You might think that banks who provide special lines for those who have reached a certain age deserves praise. And I’m sure some do. But if my bank is so concerned about the wellbeing of older depositors, who have probable accrued a little money in their establishment, the word ‘respect’ and not the words ‘pain in the ass’ should be part of the deal.
Having taken the leap, owned up to being closer to death than birth and joined the dreaded line, imagine my surprise when I was shouted at by the teller and made to stand against the back wall while she finished some paperwork and then, without a backward glance, sauntered off leaving those in the regular lines advancing at a cracking pace. Had I a walking stick, I would have shoved it through the holes in the bulletproof screen and poked her like they once poked the lunatics in Bedlam.
After a long wait, while I grew older and the line of over 60s grew longer, the teller returned and curled a taloned finger, which I took to mean I could step forward and have my eyes scratched out.
I pushed my paperwork, check, bankbook, ID, under the glass. “What do you want me to do with this?” she said.
Oh boy … Temptation, get thee behind me.
As we concluded our business, she called me Gary. Now, there’s another conundrum. In the oldies' line, surely it should be Mister Brown, not Gary.
Actually, I quite liked her calling me Gary, so much so that when I left the bank and climbed aboard my street racer, I gave it two mighty revs and popped a wheelie.