60 is a very pivotal age for the Baby Boomer. Ten years apres finding that First AARP in the mailbox… the lilting ring of I’m 50 something replaced by the thudding sound of Yeah Man, I’m 60. The reality that there are more days behind you than ahead… and depending on your world view… this could be the beginning of staring into the Abyss or racing into the Pleasure Dome. After all, we were the generation that was going to change the world…baby if I cooould channnge the world…Remember.
So here I am almost sixty (technically I am still fifty-nine) but when the ball drops next month I will be throwing rocks as they say, at sixty so why not claim it now…it will lessen the shock…and make it easier to mouth the words when some Uncoth type asks me my age. Not that I have any problem telling them…but why is it really important? Does it tell them Anything really relevant about who I am, where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and more importantly what I am about to do. Like leave this establishment as soon as I finish this drink because this conversation is boring me to thoughts of suicide or better yet homicide…His.
When did I become so impatient with men…people in general…but especially men in my age bracket…knowing what they are about to say before they engage their brains and let their mouths belie their intelligence. Able to spot an Old Playa from across the room or right up in my face whispering that I should remember his phone number without bothering to ask mine.
I think most Boomer women would appreciate it more if men just knew how to graciously accept their age and flow with it. This obsessing over younger women who see nothing but dollar signs when they look at them and the constant need to put down the women who really are in their age category has made many of my sisters declare that the war is over.
I should be stickaforkinme done but every now and then I allow myself to traverse down that road. Often because of an unexpected gift- a smile- given to a Stranger as I am leaving say… a business mixer.
He said his name was L and the smile on my face made him think I was up to something. I was. Trying to get home after two drinks of Grey Goose from a friendly bartender at the first stop followed by another less generous pour at this place. The silly grin was, I admit, Goose induced and He just happened to open the door as I was trying to gracefully ease out of the place.
After depositing my distinctive blue business card in his hand and declining to remember his whispered digits, I found myself mildly entertaining thoughts of his phone call and what might ensue. He was charming enough and had the balls to approach me so I was intrigued.
And then reality set in as day three or four since our encounter and no phone call. I put thoughts of him out with the smelly trash and immersed myself in grading yet another freshman essay about the horrors of abortion, war and gun control.
And then he called – very formal tone- as if he wasn’t sure I would answer. The conversation was brief. He was on his way to have his car inspected and I guess thought he would ring me up on the way. Not too impressive I thought for a first call since I seemed to be part of his errands for that day. And when he abruptly arrived at his destination the call ended and his promise to return the call shortly did not materialize for another 24 hours.
This time it was at my insomniac hour. I guess he didn’t believe I would really be awake but unfortunately for him I was already engaged on the phone with a close friend and ironically at the moment he called was sharing something about Him with her. I told him I would call him back which I did some two or three hours later… all is fair in love and war…and got his voicemail.
The phone remained silent for the rest of the day and finally later that evening over sushi and a second glass of wine in a new spot downtown, I did break down and call him as he had suggested just to see what his reason was for ignoring me. Yet another voicemail that signaled he was otherwise engaged. This is going nowhere fast and time to pull the ripcord. So I decide I will not entertain this nonsense any longer because those freshman essays are still piled on my living room floor ungraded.
Friday rolls around and I decide to treat myself to some seafood in the form of Cioppino which usually is reserved for holidays or special occasions since the ingredients are so costly…shrimp, clams, mussels, cod, halibut, salmon, lots of garlic, tomatoes and of course white wine…but I tire of reserving things for special occasions.
I trek to Whole Paycheck and purchase the necessary ingredients together with those for Muffaletta, a shamefully greasy salmon /spicy ham/three kinds of cheese and a slathering of olive salad on French bread kind of sandwich that has become my latest passion.
Armed with these pricey ingredients and a bright yellow blast of daisies, I surrender to the peaceful hum of my kitchen and prepare the succulent seafood stew when the phone rings and surprise, surprise…It is none other than elusive stranger. I decide to just slice through the small talk when he tells me he is on his way to a Sushi joint near my hood. And announce that I am making the best seafood dish ever and invite him over to sample my cooking.
Within minutes he appears at my front door, not as dashing as I remember from the dim lights of the club doorway but congenial enough and anxious to see if I can really cook. Since he appeared without so much as a bottle of wine, I offered him some Sauvignon that I was using in the stew.
The conversation was pleasant, informational, non threatening as I put the finishing touches on my shellfish feast. He had never had Cioppino and as I instructed him how to sop up the broth with the Italian bread, I could see the pleasure spread across his face… that look which tells the cook he has eaten something truly divine.
Before I had a chance to offer him some fruit and cheese for desert –organic pears and buttery smooth Havarti- He announced caveman style that he had other plans for the evening and had to get home and prepare himself.
I smiled sweetly to cover up my agitation. A smart guy would never have been this rude and a young guy would have been anxious to see what was for dessert. Schmuck!
Now I could really see him for what he was…an old has been who needed a good hearing aid instead of that earring in his ear. Who fancied himself a Playa when Senior Citizen more accurately described him. I quickly closed the door on both the cold winter night and him. (Note: This is My Version of Fiction. Your Comments Appreciated!)