I had to file a complaint with my bank the other day. It pained me to do so, but I had to: I was offended by their calendar.
Every year the Savings and Loan puts together a calendar featuring photos from Gunnison’s past. A history calendar, if you will. And it was fun to open the calendar to January and see a photo of the high school’s first driver-ed class and recognize one of the names as the grandmother of the current high school principal, whom I still like to think of as Little Jimmy Woytek despite advanced degrees, a wife and boys of his own, none of whom are as young as I recall Jimmy (now Jim) being.
But then I flipped a few more pages in the calendar, and somewhere in the fall is a picture of fifth and sixth graders, and when I looked at the caption I realized this group of students were in school only seven years ahead of me.
I am only seven years away from being in the history calendar.
Let’s recap: realizing I knew of one of the driver-ed students = fun. Realizing I am nearly old enough to be featured myself in the pages of history = downright depressing.
Of course, this is not the only portent of impending geezerdom. I can see this with my own eyes, literally. Or not see, is more literal.
I made my decadal eye appointment in November, motivated as always by the notion that there’s an issue with my eyes. A few years back, I suppose about 10, give or take, I was fitted with reading glasses that I used almost exclusively when sitting at Kara’s desk.
But in the last year or so print has gotten smaller and smaller, blipping into incomprehensible squiggly black lines that prompt me to resort to magnifying glasses — which I’m sure never add to the image of me as old. But I was also realizing that my glasses weren’t really helping, and once masks became part of my regular work attire, particularly before the advent of nose clips, the fogginess made it more convenient to do without them than with.
[Let us not worry about me ending sentences in prepositions: it was no less a light than Winston Churchill who said, “That is precisely the sort of pedantry up with which I will not put.”]
But the invoices with their little tiny numbers were having to move farther and farther from my eyes, and even then fives looked like sixes looked like eights and I was having to study harder and harder to try to puzzle out each numeral. Trying to read ingredient labels at the health food store was an exercise in futility. I succumbed, not to peer pressure or Lynn pressure but my own eyeballs, and made an appointment.
Which took a month to get, a month in which I became resigned to the notion of full-time glasses. But that didn’t happen. Dr. Dave, in my first visit with him, gave me fairly high marks. He didn’t even try to tell me, like every other eye doctor has, about the onset of cataracts. I guess they’re still there, but he didn’t seem concerned at all.
He was pleased with the way everything looked on the expensive x-ray-for-eyeballs machine, and didn’t seem at all concerned that I was botching letters on the bottom line or that I confessed to finding life easier at home with the $20 magnifying glasses with LEDs in the frames that Lynn and I got through the Miracle of the Internet.
He didn’t even seem inclined to push a new prescription for my reading glasses, although the measurements he took with assorted lenses suggested that might help. So I sat down with Sue, whose daughter Jodi will one day be my Riverwalk neighbor, to begin the process of improving my reading glasses.
The disconnects started early in the process: they were having a special, new glasses for only $89. “But I want to keep my frames,” I said (of course). Well, that desire turned out to be only three times more expensive than the special, but when Sue looked through my lenses she told me they were “coated” (whatever that might mean), and I wouldn’t be happy with the $89 plastic lenses.
So I kept my frames and paid a lot of money for new lenses, told Sue I didn’t need “expedited” service, even though it didn’t appear to cost any more — and then waited for more than a month for my new old glasses. When picking them up, I was handed a card that seemed like I was seeing it just swell, until I put the improved glasses on and everything came sharply into focus.
I took them back to Kara’s desk, and this is when true geezer status came into play: on the invoices all the tiny fives looked like fives, the sixes like sixes, the eights like eights . . . but now her computer screen was fuzzy.
In the old-glass days, I could look at both without trouble; now I can look at one with the glasses or the other without. Or: I can perch the glasses lower on my nose and look over or through them as needed. Just like a geezer.
More than the hair growing everywhere on my face — eyebrows, nose, ears — except the top of my head, this proves I am aging, as I stare at the young whippersnappers at work over the tops of my glasses, even if the glasses are still only needed for reading. And for looking at calendars of historic pictures which include people only seven years older than me.
Ach, my aching ego.
Don’t these kids look historic? And to think they’re only seven years older than me.