“Older,” a short piece of memoir writing was created nearly fourteen years ago. The senior center it refers to still exists, but our community has a newer and extremely large senior facility to accommodate a growing generation of Boomers and others oldsters. Nevertheless, it’s a fun memory from when I thought I was old.
The short circular driveway of the Senior Center looks all damp and mossy; lots of trees and shrubbery, no sunlight and not a soul around. I’m convinced only the most decrepit and down and out sort of people come here. But I’m a senior citizen and I’m curious.
I turn onto the street just west of the center and see an attached parking lot in the back of the building. It turns out the place is packed! The lot must hold a couple hundred parking spaces and it’s full! Big Oldsmobiles and Buicks and massive trucks for towing fifth wheelers, and I can’t find a place to park, so I park on the street.
Because I’m not familiar with how to get inside the building from the back parking lot, I walk all the way up to the front through the moist grove-like entrance. The moment I open the door, however, all thoughts of stagnant life disappear. A rush of warm and vibrant activity envelopes me. I’m greeted cordially by Lori, an attractive woman of an age I can’t guess who is impeccably dressed in a green somewhat outdated but very presentable pantsuit. The minute I tell her this is my first visit to the center, she’s off and running with so much information my head spins.
A senior in this place is defined as anyone 50 or over. Hell, at 50 I was only a kid and now, at 61, I’m just beginning to embrace the concept of being able to get discounted goods and services or of experiencing the idea that no one notices if I wear makeup or not when I’m out and about.
It was only when Lori was giving me the bingo schedule that it dawned on me: I’d joined the ranks of people by who no longer define themselves by their occupations or by the successes of their children but instead are largely people whose status might be based on the elegance of the troll doll at the end of their bingo card markers.
Oh, my gosh, is it just a matter of time before I’m saving sugar packets from Denny’s?