December 13, 2022

Article at Medium

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Yeah, I Played the Age Card

Orrin Onken
AI image by Orrin Onken

I finally did it. I openly and brazenly played the age card.

I’ve done it before. I’ve claimed a few senior discounts. I’ve let my wife and I be pulled out of long security lines at airports because we look too old to be terrorists. I’ve used my age to get the person doing customer service at my bank or at tech support to do something for me rather than point me to an article explaining how I can do it myself.

But those were small potatoes compared to the latest one.

A granddaughter was singing in a Christmas theatrical event. Her parents had given us tickets, and we would not miss it for anything. But it was a winter night in Oregon. Dark, raining, and we had to drive across town to get there. The glare of lights off the wet streets made driving in those conditions with these old eyes of mine stressful and dangerous. We called the kids. “Could you drive?”

They were disappointed. We are the ones with the Tesla, the comfortable car with the GPS, but we explained our concerns and cornered them. They couldn’t decline. Not without appearing to be uncaring jerks to their aged and infirm parents.

It was the age card, pure and simple, played for everything we could get.

And it worked. We rode to the concert in the back of a Nissan Pathfinder — hardly elegant but perfectly comfortable — with me in the back seat, blissfully enjoying the city lights. The kids dropped us off at the entrance to the show, where my wife and I made a show of our own by feebly exiting the Pathfinder. We shuffled together the ten yards to the door of the venue and waited while the kids searched for a parking spot and then walked in the rain to meet up with us.

Life is good.

And going home was the same thing in reverse. Wait at the curb while the kids find the car and pick us up. It was like Uber on steroids, but rather than having to invent topics to discuss with a stranger, we could spend the trip in a robust discussion of the shortcomings of those family members who weren’t there. Now that is what I call Christmas.

After the concert, my wife and I paid for dinner in a restaurant, the quid pro quo, for the ride, but that is a cost we would have incurred even if we had been the drivers. This morning, home safe and sound, and having enjoyed both a wonderful Christmas concert and a family dinner, I feel rested and happy.

I love the age card.

I plan on playing it in the future.

Over and over again.