Later this week, I’ll celebrate my 52nd birthday. Turning 30, 40, and even 50, was no big deal for me. Even 51 didn’t seem to register as a transition point from regular adulthood to real adulthood. But for some reason, the idea of 52 is making me rethink this whole old guy thing.
I’ve always been young at heart. I’ve never wanted to really be a responsible grown-up. Yeah, I got married, bought a house, had kids, and spent most of my waking hours on the treadmill of life trying to stay one step ahead of the next batch of bills that was sure to arrive in the mail. But, I never let it stop me from channeling my inner kid.
I love to party!
With some music, a little dancing, and a few (too many) adult beverages, I’m easily transformed into the irrepressible adolescent that lives inside of a body that has seen better days.
My daughters keep me up to date with the latest music, fashion, and phrases. Like I low-key want a cheeseburger right now (unfortunately, my cardiologist-recommended no-sodium, low-fat diet doesn’t allow such a thing). Oh, well.
I love hip-hop and alternative music. I like low-top navy blue Chucks, Vans, skinny jeans, and slim-fitting suits. Really, I do.
I’m connected too. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. I text, Instant Message, Google, YouTube, and Facetime. My Smartphone has become an extension of my left hand.
I’ve always scoffed at old fogeys who begin sentences with, “kids these days” or “in the old days.” Times change. Each generation brings new and exciting ways of doing things. To those who yearn for the past, get with the program, I implore.
A couple of weeks ago, everything changed. I was at the Delta terminal at La Guardia Airport in New York. The place is super high-tech. Almost every chair has an outlet to charge electronic devices. There is a bank of i-Pad stations where I’m sure phone booths used to sit.
Looking for something to eat before my flight, I walked by several restaurants. I noticed that every establishment had an electronic ordering device. When I sat down to order, I ran into a problem. There was no way to communicate that I needed salt-free options, a side of fruit instead of fries.
When I asked the server, she curtly told me that everything available was on the computer as she whisked by to leave a plate of food on another table. Yeah, but…I started to say. I wasn’t able to finish my sentence as she swiftly turned the corner to deliver food to the other side of the restaurant.
Are you kidding me? What happened to the good old days when waiters and waitresses greeted you with a smile and a helping hand? I sat like a grumpy old man eating a sandwich I really didn’t want and longingly staring at fries I couldn’t eat, only to pay the same machine I ordered from.
And then, to my horror, the device asked for a tip! What had the world come to?
Bam! There it was. I said it. I sounded like a bitter senior citizen decrying new-fangled things. I started questioning if I was from a bygone era when people actually talked with each other. I like to talk. I like to give and get hugs. I like to look someone in the eye when having a conversation. Was I a man of the 20th century? Did the train of progress leave me at the depot?
I hope not. I love progress and everything it brings to our lives and culture. But, I have to say that I’m perplexed when I see a young couple sitting in a restaurant booth on their respective hand-helds instead of flirtatiously giving each other goo goo eyes. There’s nothing like a warm smile and human interaction. No device can replace that.
In the meantime, I plan to celebrate my birthday with my wife over a nice dinner. I’ll gaze into her beautiful eyes and we’ll talk about whatever crosses our minds. I might even entertain sipping good old-fashioned bourbon over ice as a nightcap.
On the other hand, pounding a few Mike’s Hard Lemonades and dancing to Drake and DJ Mustard sounds like more fun. I’ll Snapchat my daughters and nieces and nephews, and share pics on Instagram with the world. I might even invite my old fogey friends who are on the couch watching TV and complaining about “kids these days.” Of course, I’ll have to call them. They’re soooo 20th century!