of a taxi, never to be seen again. I only go to the mall when my wife drags me there or I absolutely need to buy something. I do not like going. When I go alone, I often find myself standing in the middle of the mall wondering what I came for. What was it I needed buy? It must not have been important.
And there are always too many young people at the mall for my liking. There is nothing like young people with their wrinkle-free skin and carefree attitudes to make you feel old.
My favorite writer Ernest Hemingway used to stand when he wrote. I now understand why. If you sit down, you have to get up. I’m only 51 but this is a painful, slow process. Nobody told me about this when I was young. Maybe I should make sure to tell my kids so they know what to expect.
The other day at Starbucks I met a well-spoken, older Thai gentleman. It turned out had worked as an engineer in Huntington Beach, where I used to live. We talked for 30 minutes or so and in the course of our conversation, he informed me he was 70 years old - he had no problem using the word old - obviously, he’s come to terms with being on the down side of the mountain.
He took a long, deep breath, sighed, and drifted off for a few moments, lost in thought.
“You okay?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said.
He turned towards me, slowly, and looked me square in the eyes.
“I hope my wife gets here soon. I am very tired” he said.
“Maybe you should have another coffee,” I told him.
“No, no,” he said. “I’m tired because I am old.”
He pointed to his heart.
“Here I am a young man. But…on the outside, I am an old man.”
My father once told me he started feeling his age when he hit forty. He's now 71. I'm 51. I can only imagine how I'll feel when I hit 70. My guess is I'll feel exactly like the man I met at Starbucks. Young heart, old body...and quite a bit more tired than I'm feeling at 51.
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