I suppose we all feel our age from time to time… The feeling of indestructibility fades for a bit and we have to grudgingly admit that time is passing faster than we want it to. I have had some fairly humorous glimpses of this recently. Some are physical, some are intellectual, some are attitudinal (yeah, that is not a word, but roll with it). Along with these glimpses, however, has come the perception that no matter what my age, I still can appreciate the humor in the strangeness of my fellow man.
A couple of weeks ago I decided that my bike, which I used to ride a lot, was looking pretty sad and lonely on the balcony of my apartment and I hauled it to the bike shop so that it could be tuned up and made suitable for hauling my large carcass around 🙂 I picked a particularly beautiful Saturday and ventured forth to my favorite park which has a ton of cool trails to ride. There are some not so ‘bike-friendly’ streets to navigate to get there but I managed to make it there without issue. So here I was…gorgeous day…had just done about a 2 mile warm-up…had made it to the park and started to navigate the trails. Now there is one particular part of the park that has a series of dirt paths topped by a very thin layer of tiny gravel and the path travels around trees and obstacles at right angles. I had just ridden slowly past a young woman and her two young children when the gravel caused my tire to slide out from under me and I laid the bike down…landed on my elbow and knee and managed to somersault out of the crash to lessen the damage. I got up quickly, a bit embarrassed…and assessed the damage. Bloody elbow and a knee with a hole in it that was losing blood at a fairly alarming rate. I dragged the bike over to a nearby block of stone and sat down to see if I could get the bleeding to stop.
This is when I heard the woman tell her kids ‘Did you see that kids…see how he rolled when he crashed…if you ever crash, that is what you should do to protect yourself!’
I looked at her incredulously and had to hold my tongue. What I wanted to say is…’Miss, would you like to bring your kids over so that I can demonstrate stopping a hemorrhage with direct pressure?’
No, ‘Wow are you ok? Are you hurt?’… Just an object lesson for the kiddos.
So I took off my shirt, wrapped it around my leg and washed out the wound at the nearest bathroom stop. It was pretty bad, so I resigned myself to the fact that I would have to cover the 2 miles back up to street level so that I could get to the local Urgent Care. Walking into the Urgent Care shirtless raised a few eyebrows but I suppose that I could have put my blood soaked shirt back on… The deep gash took four big stitches which I figured out took an average of 23 minutes apiece to insert, based on the fact that it had gotten dark outside by the time I went home with a sore elbow, a numb knee, and a fresh tetanus shot. The walk/ride home over a mile in the dark was an adventure too and I remember thinking that this might make a semi-amusing blog of some sort should I decide to write about it at some point…I survived more than a decade of rugby where I escaped any really serious injury and I am laid low by a bit of gravel…quite sad actually.
So I was in Subway the other night…ravenously hungry…on my way to watch my Redskins make a rare Monday Night Football appearance. The local Pub does not serve their own food but allows you to bring your own in…which is weird…but works out. The Subway was deserted except for the workers and the young couple in front of me that was taking a very long time to decide, with their fist full of coupons, how to maximize their savings on their 6″ sandwich selections. To the young woman’s credit, she went pretty quickly…Her boyfriend however, did not… The dialog went something like this:
Young Man: ‘I would like a 6″ Veggie…toasted…and I would like one portion of cheese, but I would like two different types of cheeses…’
Young Woman: ‘He can have my cheese too since I am not getting cheese. Don’t you want my cheese?’
Young Man: ‘Ok…that sounds good…but I only want one piece of her cheese. I would like just two small pieces of onion…and I think I am going to splurge today and get green peppers….’ Blah blah blah….freakin blah!
(As everyone knows…I am a pretty big guy and if I wait too long to eat, I start to get a little twitchy. I was having flashbacks of Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off… ‘Bueller………Bueller………Bueller……..Anyone…..’)
I calmly asked the young man if he had ever seen the movie, When Harry Met Sally. He replied that he hadn’t and I joked that it probably came out before he was born… He agreed that that was probably the case… (Jackass!). When I told him that there was a very famous scene in that movie where one of the main characters orders food in a very similar manner he said…
‘Oh yeah, wasn’t that movie starring Harry Connick Jr.?’….
Needless to say….at that point I was DONE with the conversation. I chose to hold my tongue and depart with my sandwich, imagining that this would also appear in a blog someday and thinking that I might need to brush up on the Twilight movie series in order to hold a conversation with the current generation….Yeah…that ain’t happenin’!
Signs of the Curmudgeon?
Every week, at least once, I escape work at lunchtime and head to Pei Wei for lunch…It is cheap, it is fairly close, and I have a healthy addiction to their Chicken Pad Thai. During one of these escapes recently I ordered my food and proceeded to the drink station which also has the silverware and fortune cookies. I started to doctor up my iced tea and had to wait, somewhat impatiently, for the man who had decided to insert himself to the right of me, digging into the cannisters where they keep the oranges and lemons. This has always impressed me as a pretty nice feature at Pei Wei…fresh oranges and lemons meant for drinks…like iced tea. It took me a minute to figure out what the guy was doing….but then it dawned on me that he had taken the standard Chinese Food To-Go container and was filling it up with oranges. He proceeded to fill it to the top and calmly folded his container closed and walked out the door…leaving a very sad and largely trampled single wedge of orange at the bottom. I seriously thought about making an open field tackle…rugby style…and getting up to stomp on him if he didn’t release the ball…er to-go container… in a timely manner. Funny…I had never imagined ever wanting to wear my studded rugby boots to lunch before that day. Nothing releases my inner curmudgeon like someone trying to take advantage…and as I stated before…hunger doesn’t help.
Ah well…all signs of getting older I guess… but then … a ray of hope! Vacation! A Caribbean Cruise! Nothing like a cruise to make you feel instantly young again. You rub shoulders with a a lot of people from all walks of life on a cruise. But invariably, more than half of the people aboard the ship are much older and after a week of being looked at like you are someone’s kid…you don’t feel quite so old anymore… Thank you to all you old, crabby, upper east coast travelers… Now, thanks to this trip, my perspective has been refreshed and the youthful glow has returned to my cheeks (courtesy of the Aruban sun) …at least until the next bike accident…:)