A new category, where I whine on for 500 words about something or other:
We all make concessions to age. Whether you’re 30 and decide to give up Sonic the Hedgehog or you’re 50 and give up on 21 year olds, at some point as we creak along and the world around us continues to shift endlessly underneath our sore feet we, accordingly, have to change, too.
For an easy example: It’s been a good 10 years — more, probably — since I first broke down and slipped on a pair of readers. Now, the printed word shrinks even as the screens we read (or try to) grow impossibly larger, so having a pair of readers in my car, in my backpack, at the breakfast table and two pairs on my desk — they’re somewhere here on my desk — is an absolute necessity. Soon, I’ll need readers to find all those damn readers.
Another example: My hair. I leave it longer now, in certain places, so I can cover up a spot where it might not be as thick as it once was. In other places, it’s like … like a damn hedgehog.
Yet another: I say “damn” too much about things that bug me.
And this: At the absolute risk of sounding like a wild-eyebrowed codger, I always carry, both in the back seat of my car and in the back of my wife’s SUV, a jacket. Not like some North Face thing. Not a winter jacket. A light track jacket. And the reason is simple.
Grocery stores, restaurants, basically any indoor public place anymore is ridiculously cold. To the point of being painful-type ridiculous.
It took me a while — maybe into my codgerness, or as a friend used to call it, our dotage — to realize that the sick bastards at my local Target and Kroger were turning down the temperature to slaughterhouse levels. Often, back in the pre-jacket era, I’d be walking out of those places — restaurants, too, especially sit-down, non-Wendy’s types — before I fully realized that it was so damn cold in.
When an Atlanta summer feels like relief, you know something’s up. And it’s not the damn thermostat.
I’ve done a little research on this. I’m a reporter, you know. And, yes, some of this can be attributed to aging. Thinning skin and shrinking fat layers — ha! — are no joke.
But I’m also convinced that some of this phenomenon can be blamed on diabolical restaurant managers who have figured out that cold temperatures simultaneously make you want to eat more and eat more quickly, driving up the bill and clearing the table for the next frozen sucker. (That link ain’t exactly scientific proof, but it fits my thesis, so I’m sticking with it.)
As for those sadistic Target and Kroger bastards, I imagine the big chill might have something to do with keeping food fresh and some other warm-blooded customers, trying to escape the summer heat, happy and spending. But I’m not buying that.
They’re out to get me, with their open freezers and fancy Nest thermostats. I know it.
But I have a jacket. So screw them. Dammit.