Acting My Age

I've always wanted to be a different age. When I was 8, I wanted to be 12. When I was 15, I couldn't wait to be 18, but there were still a lot of restrictions on 18-year olds, so my goal became 21. I bedded my mom to let me skip junior high school and jump into ninth grade, but she said no. When I graduated from eighth grade, I realized the perils that high school offered, and pleaded to skip high school and matriculate in college at age 14, but I couldn't find any college that would take me. This has continued throughout my life, and now that I am 74, I want to be 75, because I am too healthy to get a Covid vaccination until I am 75.

When I called the VA to get in a virtual line for my possible inoculation, the voice on the other end of the line said, “But, Gail, you are ONLY 74.” No one has ever said that to me before. I’m fewer than 60 days to 75. I know age is only a number, but no one else seems to get that.

For example, a few years ago my granddaughter Maggie, who was 11, and I, at age 71, wanted to try out a Segway, the gizmo that you stand on to zoom down the street. We were in Amsterdam and Maggie noticed a Segway kiosk about to open and we raced each other to be first in line. It was like a dream come true. She’s athletic and had no qualms about riding it. My eyes zeroed in on the helmets, and figured if I were careful, went slowly, and yelled at people to get out of my way, I would be fine. I pulled out my credit card and got ready to sign away a few dollars for a once-in-a-lifetime fun experience. We were both chomping at the proverbial bit.

The pimply-face clerk pointed to a sign behind her and said, “How old are you two anyway?” I was sure she noticed my youthful appearance and the spring in my step. The sign announced age restrictions. My heart fell to the sidewalk, “No one under 12 or over 70.” Wait. What? Are you kidding me? I could see that rule for wimpy kids under 8 or doddering folks over 100, but I was not yet doddering, and my granddaughter is a gymnast with a full repertoire of balance, agility, and strength. Maggie whispered, “We could tell a little fib, Grandma,” but what kind of lesson is that teaching? Dang it, the age thing got in the way again.

So now, I’m once again waiting, pining to get my Covid shot, but while I’m in the virtual line, I’m going to search for a Segway stand, lie about my age, and take a spin on one of those delightful toys…if I can find a helmet and ample protective equipment. And I won’t forget my mask!

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