It was a strange encounter that still has my brain abuzz.
I was walking home from the grocery store in my current city of residence southeast of Whitehorse. My route took me past the site where small men and large machines have been toiling for months to build a massive parking garage.
As the work has proceeded, I’ve been puzzled by the amount of seemingly redundant infrastructure in the grand crater, which appears to have little or no relevance to the actual parking of cars.
Maybe it’s a guy thing, but I stopped to watch, as I often do.
After a while, I couldn’t stop myself from questioning the flagman who was there to ensure the various trucks, backhoes, cranes and other implements of destruction had safe passage to the site.
“What’s with all those outcroppings of cement and rebar? Where the heck are the cars supposed to go?” I asked.
“It’s structural,” he answered enigmatically.
“So, basically foundation stuff, huh?”
“Yup,” he replied.
“Well, I guess those architects and engineers know what they’re doing,” I conceded, before he turned the conversation on a dime.
“And what did you do in your day?” he inquired.
“Uh. I was mostly a journalist. I guess that’s why I ask so many questions.”
That seemed to satisfy him. But it didn’t really satisfy me. I walked away seething with resentment, even though I knew he was just trying to be friendly.
“What did he mean, ‘in my day’?” I mused. “I’m still alive. I’m walking. I’m talking to you, aren’t I? Isn’t this still my day, just as much as it is yours?”
I huffed. I puffed. Silently, but indignantly.
How dare this whippersnapper, who’s a mere 50 years old or so – and out of shape to boot – imply that my earthly string is nearly played out, that I’m a back issue in life’s catalogue, ready to join the choir invisible like a Norwegian Blue parrot?
Surely, I am not alone among Geezers who resent the assumptions that, just because our frames are creaky, our gait tentative and our voices raspy, we are one foot from the grave, with the other on a banana peel.
It’s not necessary to use small words, as if we were children or newcomers to the language.
There’s no need to speak slowly and loudly, with exaggerated lip movements to make sure we hear you. We pay our audiologists thousands of dollars for these nifty little devices in our ears, just so you don’t have to do that.
And it may take us a bit longer to rummage through our pockets or purses to find our credit cards, but we’re still supporting the economy, the same way you are.