Monday, February 04, 2008

I never got to know my grandparents. My father's parents were killed in the Holocaust and my mother's parents lived very far away (Israel) and died when I was a kid. Because of this, and because there were mostly young families in our neighborhood, I never spent any time with old folks when I was growing up. I never got to acclimate to the speed and style of the elderly.

How does this affect me now as an adult? In one single profound way: I really really hate old people.

Take this weekend for example. When the wife and I choose a movie to see, one of our criteria is that we won't pick a movie where the audience is likely to be filled with obnoxious teenagers. I don't need people talking back to the screen or generally being rambunctious in a movie theater. Outings like that just confirm my general misanthropy. For that reason we avoid most action films and anything on opening weekend.

Seeing Michael Clayton seemed safe, and in fact when we entered the theater we noticed that most of our fellow movie goers were fairly geriatric. What I failed to realize is that old people suck in movie theaters. I'm not exactly sure why, maybe it's because they don't hear well, but when they have something to say, they tend to SHOUT IT OUT TO THE PERSON SITTING NEXT TO THEM.

You get to listen to old people yelling things like "WHAT DID HE SAY?" and "MY HIP! I BROKE MY HIP!". Ugh. Keep it down, Wilford.

The place I hate seeing old people the most, however, is the supermarket.

They impede my efficiently planned path through the store by clogging up the aisles like the cholesterol in their arteries. I peer into each aisle before committing myself to it, wary of the geriatric blockades the elderly form as they wedge themselves against their carts while squinting at over-sized bottles of Metamucil. There's no room to go around them, and antiquated laws prevent me from barreling through them, so my only recourse is to give them the stink-eye. I wield this impotent weapon accompanied by a dramatic sigh.

Even after I maneuver through the old-folks labyrinth I can still get stymied by the checkout line. I will avoid at all costs getting in line behind old people. You can be sure that at the register, they will wield at least two parts of the Annoyance Quadfecta: coupons, paying with pennies, writing a check, and general confusion.

I'd be willing to cut them some slack on the coupon issue, because fixed incomes are a bitch. Also, you have to do something with your change, so I guess annoying me with it is as good an idea as any other one. Writing checks, however, is unforgivable. Checks? What century is this? Did they run out of promissory notes?

Checks are like little forms. I hate forms. Don't we all hate filling out forms? ATM cards have been around for about 20 years now. I think they are a tried and true technology now, much like the telephone and the wheel. And, if, god forbid, you must write a check, how about starting to write it BEFORE the cashier finishes ringing you up?

It just drives me nuts. I both hate and fear old people. Hate, because of their singular mission to destroy the quality of my life, and fear due to the fact that I inch closer to old age with every passing moment. There it goes again! I'm closer now than I was at the beginning of this paragraph.

I better stop writing quick


carey said...

Oh my, you KNOW karma is going to screw you big time now. Right? And you're going to one day be that little old man driving 30 mph in the left lane with your blinker on?

What's cool about that, though, is once you're that age, you simply don't have to care.

Avery Gray said...

Oh, Mike. Old people probably think you're just adorable. They'd never suspect the cauldron of rage that burns inside you. Stupid old people.

Mike said...

Carey, oh, I realize that there's nothing admirable about complaining about old people. I realize that they are not annoying by choice and that I'll be one of them too soon. That being said, nuts to them.

Avery, I don't know about that. My parents certainly like me well enough. The rest of them probably think I'm a jerk or an idiot. They're probably at least half right.

Kimberly said...

That was brilliantly written. I thoroughly enjoyed and empathized with every little bit. Especially the supermarket. The worst bit? Is they all seem to know each other and therefore, they congregate. And me? I'm wheeling through there with two cuties in my cart so they don't make way for us so much as swarm us.

I love that you expressed what most people are too cowardly/courteous to.

Velvet Sacks said...

Ouch! This post kind of makes me want to whack you with that cane I've been admiring at Walgreen's.

6:49 PM

Mike said...

Hi Kimberly, thanks for the kind words, but you misspelled the word "awkwardly" as "brilliant".

VS, I know, I know. I'm having a hard week, but it's no excuse. Don't worry, I'll get my comeuppance.