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December 7, 2015 / thackersam

December 6 – When is rudeness appropriate

begone1Before I left on my trip, a friend downloaded some of my CDs onto my phone so I could have my music while I was in Holland. I thought I would need them, but I didn’t. I did however need the half pint of Jack I took with me. The music has not gone to waste though, as I changed my alarm and now wake up to Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “Heard It Through The Grapevine,” still the best version of the song.

So I’m thinking I may like this 60 thing. Each decade I hit is more empowering than the last. I just don’t want to get so rude like some of the older folk I observed on my recent travels, such as the man who came on the train from The Hague to Amsterdam and hit a young man in the arm with his cane to get him to move so he could sit. “Excuse me,” would have been nicer. Or at the airport, the couple who just stepped in line in front of me without a word until I point to where the end of the line was. “I like the middle,” the man said while his wife muttered something to him, probably warning him not to mess with the crazy American. I don’t know if it’s a custom that allows some to think they can leave politeness behind as they age, not that they were that much older than I, but hey, try that in New York, which was where we were all heading.

I on the other hand, was exceedingly rude the other day to the exceedingly irksome HR person at work who suffers from both incompetence and fibbing. As I could tolerate her no longer, I dismissed her from my office after a short but frustrating conversation by saying I was out to lunch. I then stuffed a large forkful of spinach salad in my mouth and she would not get another word out of me except for the tacit “begone!” And so she left. That is quite rude for me and I should apologize, but it would not be a sincere apology as she did so deserve it, and just thinking about it makes me chuckle. I’ll chalk it up to reaching an age in which I can demand respect. I promise though that even as I continue to age there will be no cane poking unless in self-defense, and no expectation of cutsies especially without a polite request.

For me, that first big empowerment surge started when I turned 40. A jolt of confidence hit, and at that time I was in a real go nowhere situation. I was an assistant manager at a Victoria’s Secret store. Oh Lordy. Except for the fact that I like nice lingerie now and then, I was such a fish out of water. That, as they say, is a whole ‘nother story. Several in fact.

Speaking of rude, and in keeping with the spirit of the season, let me take you back to a December about 40 or so years ago and tell you a little holiday tale. When trying to exit the parking lot behind the Hub Supermarket that adjoins the Long Island Railroad lot in Syosset, my brother Davey and I, driving in my mother’s old beat up Dodge Dart, encountered a car stopped in the middle of the lane so the driver could chat with someone outside of her car. My brother started honking the horn with no results, so being the calm person he was, he leaned on it and started yelling out the window. Suddenly there was a man at the driver’s side window advising my brother that it was the holiday season and perhaps he should have a little more patience, and so on, to which my responded with “Ah, Fuck You,” and a very quick roll up of the window as the man’s fist punched the glass. When we finally reached the exit, the same man pulled up in his car behind us, blaring his horn. Laughing maniacally, Davey observed that the man was now going home to beat his wife and kick his dog. My brother could be a big jerk sometimes. Still, it’s one of my favorite Christmas stories.

Back to the present, last night I attended a small gathering at an uptown bar to celebrate my high school graduating class turning 60. There were only a little more than a dozen of us and I didn’t know some of the people (we’re Baby Boomers and our graduating class was somewhere in the high hundreds), but I must say that none of us look like we’re 60 years old. I wouldn’t have looked at any one of us and thought – Damn, s/he looks so old. Yes, we all look older and different, but we all look good. Perhaps that’s why there were only a dozen of us that showed up. Maybe we’re the cream of the crop. Those who have not aged well stayed home. Whichever, our 60 is definitely not our parents’ 60.

Btw – Exercise is going well and I expect the diet and writing to follow suit so I will be back to my pre-Holland routine. 4x4x4 is the new formula.

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