Guess My Age

I remember my first flight that I took by myself. I think I might have been seven or eight years old at the time, somewhere around 1984. I remember it well, it was magical. I felt special. I had the attention of airline staff guiding me right up to the plane, but not before getting a cup of hot chocolate!

I was guided to my aisle seat. I recall sitting next to a pleasant woman. She was taken by my fiery red-headed ringlets. She complimented my hair and asked to touch my hair. I remember being okay with that if a little embarrassed. Random female strangers, along with the women in my family, would constantly grab at my hair or my cheeks (the ones on my face, people). It was always a little embarrassing. I’ve always been fond of attention, even if it’s embarrassing.

The nice lady asked me question after question when she asked me, “Well, haven’t you got anything you want to know about me?” I was dense as a little kid (I’m still just as dense as an adult) and shrugged my little shoulders. She asked me, “How old do you think I am?” Now that, I recall, seemed like a fun and interesting question—I had no idea what sort of shit-starter such a question would be at that time obviously. It didn’t take me long to blurt out “62!!!” The nice lady’s smile disappeared from her face, like the receding waters of the ocean. She looked ahead, pursed her lips, visibly annoyed, and said, “I’m forty! And a bit of advice, you should always guess younger than you think that person is.”

She promptly opened up a book she brought on board with her and dove into it. She didn’t talk to me again until we landed for her connecting flight.

Even as a young fella, I was always charming people.

***

The concept of time is interesting, isn’t it? We don’t know how much of it we’ve got. As a child, I had no concept of time; I didn’t know what it meant except that bed time was 8 pm for me. Now, a few decades older, time has a different meaning. There’s not a lot of it for any of us. I’m aware of time’s watchful eye but I ignore it yet it always keeps track, tallies up every micro-moment and second like a stubborn choppy river, it keeps on moving.

We’re all fugitives of time’s long reach. It can be unnerving but also comforting in its constancy.

Insult someone you know by telling them they look older than they are today.

 

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