Something's Coming, I Forget What
We’re seeing old and dear friends tomorrow, a couple from back east who swing out to the Northwest at least a couple of times a year, although mainly to Oregon these days. Grandchildren tug, and they tug from Portland.
But they lived up here for several years, and one of their sons still makes his home in Seattle, so Friday’s the day. It’ll be fun.
This man used to be my pastor, I suppose, although I just think of him as a friend. I’ve had complicated relationships with these people, men and women, in leadership roles in churches that my wife’s been associated with. I’ve liked and admired all of them, really, to varying degrees, but I’ve never had a real pastoral relationship. Sometimes I think it’d be nice.
Not that I feel this is necessary, just useful. And not really for spiritual matters, either, although I don’t mind discussions about big ideas. It’s hard for me to explain without getting into a big ol’ battle about stereotypes, and I’m not in the mood.
So I’ll just say that these people play interesting roles, roles that may slip under your radar if you’re not a person regularly dealing with them and their positions. If you don’t have a faith community, I mean, or want one. Which lots of people don’t.
There are all kinds. I’m just trying to avoid talking about the Rev. Lovejoy image and how weirdly wrong it feels. The pastors I know are all highly educated people with advanced degrees and significant training in the helping professions. They are trained counselors, for one thing. They’re used to listening, and trying to help all sorts of people with all sorts of issues.
And I’m thinking of one in particular, and not the one coming into town this week.
We were having a discussion about aging, this other man and I, years ago, and his experience had taught him a few things. He specifically mentioned his observation that there were, in general, milestones that seemed to happen to everyone, and that the age of 75 appeared to be significant. People started slowing down about then, he noticed, and it was something that was on his mind as he contemplated retirement.
It’s on my mind, too. Not 75, though.
I’ve been sleeping a little less lately, according to my Fitbit. Not in an alarming way. Just a little less.
I seem to function OK on less than a full eight hours, but I’ll take it when I can get it, and try hard to get it. But I’m fine with 5-6 hours, as long as I don’t make it a habit.
My face is not fine. As I’m sure we all know, sleep deprivation spends most of its advertising dollars on the aging face. There are just days when appearing younger than, say, 120 is not in the cards. We make jokes and such.
There’s no leeway anymore, no extra credit for youthful ideas or listening to hip-hop. If you’re a person who wears makeup, you might need a few extra minutes and some extra care. If you’re me, you maybe stay inside on those days.
Yesterday I was in the car for about five hours, just the way it worked out. Most of it was driving, but some was just waiting in a parking lot. I had time to do lots of things, including hitting the Burke-Gilman trail. The B-G runs across Puget Sound, south to north for the most part, an old railroad line that has become a destination for bikers and walkers in all directions.
This was a section near the University of Washington, not as picturesque as other locations but still a nice trail. It was pouring rain, though, and I wasn’t in the mood for that, so I sat there, scrolling. I was messing around with Instagram, seeing if I could figure out how people were getting funny stickers and animated graphics on their photos, and I snapped a selfie and there you go.
It was, as I told my wife when I sent it to her, a unique moment, when a photo captured me looking exactly how I felt. Which was a little ragged and mostly about 60.
It’s not a secret. It’s coming and will come, regardless of how I feel about it. I’m not all that worked up, but it does seem wise to take advantage of the roundish number and evaluate my location on the timeline. I give this some thought fairly often, as you can imagine. Again, this isn’t a bad thing for me, no moodiness or despair.
And my non-pastoral observation is that between 50 and 80, say, it’s just hard to pinpoint. People age in widely varying ways, and I don’t see much of a pattern. I don’t feel about to turn into a statistic. Mostly I try to act more my age, stop embarrassing myself or my children.
I find myself admiring people and their aging journeys a lot, actually. I note the people who use special filters on photos, smoothing their skin. I know others, including famous people, who don’t seem to care if they look their age in public from time to time. I have friends, women for the most part, who just don’t seem to have any fucks to give when it comes to their
appearance, and I’m pretty much in love with all of them.
I can’t get my vanity up, in other words. It’s there, I nod in its direction, I try to stay clean and dressed appropriately. I tend to get regular haircuts. I don’t want to scare small children.
And I’m doing fine. I don’t think I look older than I am, or particularly younger. I’m comfortable with my status, as if I had a choice. It’s not my face that I wonder about.
Yesterday morning, I asked my wife if she had any cash. I wanted to leave a tip for the paperboy, who charms me just by virtue of existing in 2018. He tosses a paper on my doorstep once a week, a paper that has my picture and my words prominently displayed, and I pretty much just toss it in the recycling bin. I just like the experience, and I like giving him tips.
She didn’t have any, though, and neither did I, so I’ll catch him next week. As I sat in that car, though, playing with vanity, I suddenly remembered getting $10 in cash at the grocery store the day before, specifically for the paperboy.
And THEN I remembered doing the same thing, the day before THAT. I rarely carry cash, or think about it, so I must have shoved these bills into the pocket of my jeans and forgot. Sheesh.
,,,I remembered that I had put a load of laundry in before leaving the house. I washed those jeans. I didn’t recall searching through the pockets first. I’d gotten cash twice, forgotten about it immediately both times, and now my money laundering had come home to roost. I tell you, it made me wonder about a lot of things. Memory is an issue and always is going to be as we age, there’s no fighting or denying, but this seemed particularly stupid. It was real money, and now it was probably in many little soggy pieces.
And THEN I got home, and realized that, in fact, I forgot to wash my jeans.
I can’t remember if I mentioned that I have a birthday in three months. Probably. Whatever.