He is in his late twenties and he wants to know how it feels to be out of touch with all that is cool.
I tell him it is never something I really worry much about.
He takes it as an invitation to take another poke at me, tries to stick me with another comment about being too old to recognize how dated I sound.
I ask him if he wants to pull down his pants and prove he is the bigger man than I am.
Kid doesn’t recognize the sarcasm and tells me he doesn’t want to embarrass me. I laugh and ask him what he is afraid of.
“You just spent time telling me how I am too old to be cool and suggested that I am so far beyond my prime I ought to be in a facility and now you back down. How telling.”
Before he can respond I tell him I am not a quinquagenarian and suggest that instead of Googling it he go visit a real library.
Don’t Poke The Bear
It is not a conversation I ever wanted to have but we work together and I am temporarily stuck with him.
We’re together for training purposes but he doesn’t seem to recognize it is not a level playing field and I am not particularly interested in pointing that out.
I am not his father so I am not going to tell him not to poke the bear. I am not going to mention that I am supposed to file a report about our time.
What I am supposed to be doing is evaluating his ability to represent the company and to determine what areas he needs to improve upon.
He was told all this before we left by his supervisor and I am not interested in babysitting.
I prefer to see what he is like when he is loose and I figure that this must be it. So for a long while I just wait and see.
I listen to his remarks and I don’t engage until after I have told him it is not of particular interest to me.
But he insists on poking the bear.
Remember When Quinquagenarians Were Cool
The dictionary says a quinquagenarian is a person who is 50 or in their fifties so technically I am not part of that group.
But I have twenty years on him and that is enough for there to be a generation gap.
What he doesn’t recognize is I am not bothered by whether I am considered to be cool, young or old.
I don’t know if I was ever considered to be the cool kid by anyone. It never mattered enough to me to try very hard to be him either.
Won’t say I had no interest because let’s face it, there are certain perks that come with it but I never did see an easy way to try and become that guy.
And though I have never been afraid of hard work I never felt like I should work hard to make people like me.
You either did/do or didn’t/do not.
As for those perks I mentioned, well I never had trouble finding women to date or convincing girls to become my girlfriend.
So even though it might have been nice to have had more women chasing me it wasn’t like I lacked for companionship.
Did I mention that sometimes I wonder who was chasing whom in some of those relationships?
Sometimes I look back and wonder if one or two of them didn’t manipulate me into doing exactly what they wanted me to.
Anyway, it is strange sometimes to think about how much has changed since I was in high school and college.
People may technically be the same but there are moments where I think about things like encyclopedias, the Dewey Decimal system, albums, record stores and drive-ins are things that kids don’t know about.
They can’t relate to the frustration and experiences of not having change for payphones, busy signals, emergency breakthroughs or collect calls.
Computers make erasable ink pens and White-Out sound quaint.
Hell, how many times would I have given my right arm for a computer because I was told a final report had to be submitted error free and without any modifications made to the typing.
I never owned a T-Bird like the one in the photo but I always wanted one.
My dad got a Thunderbird when I was in college.
I have some great memories in that car. When he and my mom went away to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary I took that car and drove it all over.
It is one of the cars I pictured being part of Sometimes Trouble Finds You.
But at the moment I am thinking about a convertible Cadillac and days at the beach. Might be because I am listening to Don Henley sing The Boys of Summer or because of the music I hear inside my heart.
I have to believe that if the universe can hear anything it hears the song inside my head and feels the one inside my soul.
That Pied Piper called out to me long ago and I have spent eons looking for the path from the earth to his sky castle.
I am pretty certain I am walking on it now.
Young People Can’t See It
Age is definitely a relative thing and I know that there are many who consider me young just as I consider the colleague at work to be.
But I am old enough to have loved and lived and to know what it is I am in search of. Doesn’t matter if I can describe it in terms that you can see or feel because it is an individual thing.
Won’t be long before I move again and though I don’t know whether I’ll move into a house, apartment or townhouse I know it will all work out.
Kind of funny to think about how much I don’t know here and how not so long ago not knowing the specifics would have made me crazy.
But today I look at the uncertainty, close my eyes and listen for the music the piper is playing.
I almost told the kid from work that he hasn’t touched the surface of life yet and that if he thinks he has he is mistaken.
Didn’t because I didn’t want to sound like a pompous windbag and because he wouldn’t believe me anymore than I would have believed an old man when I was his age.
Life is about to get really interesting. Someone tell Gandalf I am ready to go to Rivendell with him.