It is a bit disturbing that all these Olympic athletes I see on TV are younger than me. There is 23-year-old snowboarder, Shaun White, and 25-year-old skier, Lindsey Vonn, and 27-year-old speed skater, Apolo Ohno, who is apparently an old, old man. I bet he is sponsored by the AARP. When I watch the events, a voice inside of me chants, “Go…29-year-olds!” while wondering if there are any 29-year-olds competing in the games. They might have been relegated to seniors competitions at this point.
But as I contemplate my old age and the fact that I am probably too old to win a gold metal in luge, I am not too upset. A few weeks ago, as I exited a coffee shop, a teenage girl walked up to me and asked if I had change for the bus. She and her friend appeared well-groomed and sober, so I was 95% certain I was not giving them change to buy crack cocaine on the next corner. I emptied my change purse into her palm and wished her luck, remembering the days when I had to wait for the bus. It was boring, sometimes cold, and the ride home was always long and usually stinky.
A few minutes later, I was driving back home when I passed a car stalled in an intersection. Its occupants hopped out, all of them teenage kids, and pushed the car out of the path of oncoming traffic as if this were a normal happenstance. I looked at those kids and their baggy army camouflage pants, and I thought of the girl begging for bus money on the corner and thought, “You know, I am glad I am not a teenager anymore.” Then I drove home in the reliable car I bought with my own money, and not with spare change panhandled on the corner.