Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Batch, We're Old

This morning, going from the train to the bus, I had to go through Schiphol Airport. There's always too many people and I, being a New Yorker-ish person, walk quickly and with purpose.

Standing in a doorway was a young girl with a large suitcase. She stood watching something or listening to her mother. I didn't see. I didn't care. Assessing the situation quickly, I took my foot and moved the suitcase about six inches so that I could pass through without breaking my stride.

The girl had that fascinated, "Wow, I'm in a busy airport going to an exotic destination" look in her eye. I see it a lot, that look. Huge groups of people bubbling with excitement and taking up too much space. They seem to think that everyone can share in the thrill of their adventure. That's the sweet, innocent look the girl had on her sweet face - until I moved he an her suitcase out of my way. Then she looked surprised, a little shocked. I didn't see too much of it as I was soon on an escalator moving away from her.

It reminded me of a story my friend, Eleanor once told me. She said her ex-husband, Batch, called saying that he'd been punched. He is a big guy and both of them are around 60. He was standing somewhere and someone tried to cut in line in front of him. He is used to being big and imposing. He silently moved the person back, out of line. The person, instinctively clocked him and said, "Hands off, old man." He wasn't hurt that bad. He didn't have to go to the hospital. But he was shocked. He had a new experience.

Eleanor sighed over the phone and said, "Batch, we're old. You can't do that any more."

I realized that, at 40, I've got only another...twenty years left of shoving my way through the world - if I keep myself in shape. This is not to say that I shove people every day, quite the contrary, but I know that if I need to shove, I've got size and strength on my side, which I like. It's sort of like noticing my body's slowly changing metabolism and changing my eating habits. Or noticing that too much coffee makes me feel like I drank battery acid - and now I drink green tea. It's just a change of attitude and habits. I can do it...when I need to.

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