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Chasing The American Dream

December 10, 2004


When I get older losing my hair, many years from now.
Will you still be sending me a Valentine, birthday greetings, bottle of wine.
If I'd been out 'till quarter to three, would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty-four?
Lyrics by Lennon & McCartney, 1967

I’ll get to the point of the real reason I’m writing this post, but for 30 minutes this morning, I thought I really was 64. First of all, I got 3 hours sleep, giving me 30 hours in the past 10 days. I’m out of town now going on 11 months this year. My mind feels like the original title of McCartney’s Yesterday. Anyone remember? Yeah, Scrambled Egg(s). Sure, hum it. See? It fits!

Anyway, uh, I’m driving to work and am behind shedule (keeping with Beatles theme using Brit. accent for ‘schedule’) as usual. Despite the fact that I’m late, I still must make my daily Starbucks run for my iced coffee. Iced, you ask? Yeah, it’s mid-December here in FLA and it’s eighty-friggin-three degrees. So I’m about to walk in the door, and I pat my pocket to make sure I’ve got my credit card. Nope. Instant panic. Blood rush. Cold sweat. What the hell did I do with it, I’m thinking?

…Brain immediately flashes back to hotel room and retraces steps…A-ha, got it! I call the hotel and tell them that I believe I left my credit card on the small table by the kitchen. The front desk manager tells me he’ll send housekeeping to check on it and they’ll call me right back. I arrive at work and grab all my work bags from the trunk. So I’m about to walk in the door, and I pat my pocket to make sure I’ve got my key pass. Nope. Instant panic. Blood rush. Cold sweat. What the hell’s goin’ on here, I’m thinking?

Another brain flash. …Hmm, must have left it on the same table as the credit card… So I call the hotel back and tell them there’s more I forgot. The manager says they found no credit card. All they found was a Dale Earnhardt, Jr. hat (yes skeptics and critics alike, I’m a NASCAR fan which I’m sure will end up on one of Greek Tragedy's lists somewhere). My brain is still not working clearly. I’m trying to shake the cobwebs and think about the whole exit-the-hotel process…uh-huh, mmhhmm, yeah… BINGO! Got it this time. So I call the hotel back and tell them I’m on my way and tell the manager that I left everything on the bed. Easy. I told him I’d be there in 10 minutes.

I arrive at the hotel and the manager says to me, “Sorry Mr. Moser, just the hat. Nothing else.” Instant panic. Blood rush. Cold sweat. I am perplexed and can’t figure it out. The manager says I can have a look, and I take him up on it. While I’m waiting for the elevator, I hear a gaggle of geese, no, housekeepers clucking about not finding anything in some guy’s room.

“Excuse me ladies would you happen to be talking about room 210? That’s me!”
“Oh, we’re so sorry, we found nothing.”
“Yes, the manage told me, but I’ll have a look just in case.”

So I open the door and headed right to the little table. I lift up a napkin and there it is, the credit card. So is this an indication of those 8 housekeepers’ cleaning prowess? But alas, no key pass. I looked all over the room, but no sale. I went downstairs and flashed the credit card to the ‘housekeepers’ and they smiled surprisingly. They never asked me where I found it. I guess they were to busy buzzing about the guy in 219 who stole 6 towels and a handful of mini-shampoos and conditioners. I flashed the card to the manager and told him to keep an eye out for the key pass.

As I was walking to the car, I got another blood rush out of nowhere. An idea flew in my head and managed to stay in there. The little voice was telling me to look in the pocket of the pants I wore yesterday. I was excited. This could be the mother lode. I got the suitcase out of the trunk, opened up the whole thing, dug into the slacks and VOILA! Key pass. Order was restored. Relief more than anything that I realized I still had a few brain cells left.

On my drive back to work, I kept thinking to myself and wondering if I was losing my normally elephant-like memory? For those 30 minutes, no offense, I truly thought I knew what it was like to be 64. Perhaps 74 or 84? Was I getting O-L-D or was I just too damn tired to focus? Maybe I got what I deserved for ragging on my elders before and now…

First of all, don’t attack me septuagenarians (yes, I know the ‘septs’ age range is 70 to 80, but I couldn’t find the right word for people between 60 and 70). I love old people. In fact, I’m really great with grandparents. Love to hear the old stories. Come to think of it, I’m pretty good with kids and parents too; it’s the girls I have trouble with. But I digress once again.

OK. I’m really getting to the point now. I had lunch yesterday at a busy café in Naples, Florida. December + Naples = Lots and lots of snowbird retirees flocking down on vacation. The café just happened to be filled with them. The place was packed. There was a din of plates and glasses clanging away and the murmur of a million conversations happening simultaneously.

Being the observer that I am, I happened to notice something interesting at a table to my right and one on my left. Two elderly couples having lunch. Both couples had to easily be in the 70s. Easily. I stared at the one on the right, then the one on the left. I stared for a while. Both couples had something in common. Any guesses? Nope, the men weren’t wearing straw hats, tropical patterned shirts, and white sox with sandals. Nice guess though. No, actually the thing they had in common was that NO ONE, and I mean nobody, was saying a friggin’ word.

I was mesmerized. Fascinated. Both couple ate in complete silence. They never even looked at each other; they only looked down at their food. I clued in the other two guys at my table. We started giving odds. Which couple would break the silence first? The more the competition heated up, the more it saddened me. Is this what I have to look forward to in 30-odd years? I just left that scene back in Phoenix when I moved out. Oh no. I don’t want to retire. I don’t want to be 64 and be married and eat early bird specials and not say a friggin’ word all meal. Tell me there’s more to retirement than a chicken Caesar salad! At that moment, I needed a dose of romance. Where were the old couples who held hands, smiled, talked, and laughed? I did a quick 360 with my eyes but couldn’t find it.

I swiveled back to the right. Silence. To the left? Silence. Both couples looked mad as hell. Then out of the corner of my eye, I see this elderly lady strolling down the aisle like Heidi Klum on a Victoria’s Secret runway? What the hell was she doing? She had to be in her 60s easy. She arrived to my ‘left’ table and began modeling her outfit for the lady at said table. Bizarre. I mean, that outfit showed way too much skin, if you get my drift. Did she really expect a sale? It was comical.

Back on the right, silence was broken! To the right go the spoils. Yup, the old man broke the silence when he asked his wife if she was gonna eat all her fries. She simply shook her head no. End of conversation. The check comes and, finally, she starts talking only her hubby’s looking to his left, staring at the ceiling and totally ignoring her. We’re all watching now in somewhat disbelief that no one’s taking, right or left. We looked to the left and both of them are staring at anything but each other. Both couples eventually left without saying 5 words to each other.

I guess when I think about it, my ‘ex’ and I ran out of things to say pretty much before 40. Man, I sooo don’t want that to happen again. I want the golden years to be even more special. More sharing, more talking, more laughing, more fun. Is this possible? Can I take a rain check on my Hanukkah present and defer it for another 22 years? Why? Because that’s what I want; that and a good memory. When I’m 64.


  • I think that sexagenarian is the word you were looking for.

    Very impressed at how quickly you found your credit card and key pass. You're definitely not 64 yet.

    By Blogger A, at 6:14 AM, December 11, 2004  

  • Good luck. If SHE hasn't left by the time you're 70, YOU probably will have. That's what happens if you stay. NOTHING.

    Having lived in Boca Raton for the last 5 years, my wife and I used to run into these silent couples all the time, when we went out. Once, while at dinner, I whispered: I think these women next to us are eavesdropping.
    BOLLIX said my wife (not really bollix), they can't hear.
    A bit later I noticed that my food needed a tad bit more salt. I looked around for a salt shaker--we had none.
    Man, I said, no salt on our table.
    IMMEDIATELY, one of the ladies next to us says: HERE HONEY, USE OURS.

    I feckin' HATE old people and their tired old stories.

    We're better off when they're out and they're quiet.

    By Blogger Bubbles, Ink., at 8:08 AM, December 11, 2004  

  • S-e-x-agenarian? You're right; I looked it up. Sounds like an oxymoron of sorts. Thanks, uuhh, hmmm, what was your name again? Can't remember.. ;-)

    LX, sounds like a Seinfeld episode. Harsh view or is that your fictional outlook? Sorry for the above emoticon.

    By Blogger Plantation, at 8:26 AM, December 11, 2004  

  • Not fiction; used to happen all the time. The listening in, I mean.

    S. FL is a beautiful place--too bad it's spoiled by the wrong kind of people.

    By Blogger Bubbles, Ink., at 5:18 PM, December 11, 2004  

  • Todd,

    I see the same thing all the time, and it worries me. Luckily, my folks aren't like that, and it seems that none of their friends are either.

    I just hope that when they retire, they don't become one of the divorce statistics that seem to be growing - retired couples that find that after spending more time with each other than they have in years that they actually can't stand each other & split up. It's very sad.

    By Blogger M, at 9:30 PM, December 12, 2004  

  • Aging's part of life. There are parts of my brain that don't work anymore. Maybe if I got more than six hours of sleep they would, but whatever...

    It sucks, but I'm sure these incidents are not signs of your impending decrepitude. And yes, that's supposed to make you feel better.

    By Blogger Esther Kustanowitz, at 11:49 PM, December 12, 2004  

  • E, not sure if it made me feel better about 64, but it *did* make me laugh...

    By Blogger Plantation, at 12:01 AM, December 13, 2004  

  • they ARE TOO signs of the impending decrepitude and I know cause I've ... um, what was I saying?
    Hilarious story about old lady and the salt!
    Anyway, they say gingko biloba is good for the memory, but DUH -- who's gonna remind you to take it?

    By Blogger squarepeg, at 6:31 AM, December 22, 2004  

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