There they were, in tightly arranged rows of open plastic bags, next to the buck ninety-nine a pound red grapes. With a deep blue color and elongated shape that reminded me of ‘Good & Plenty’ candy I enjoyed as a kid, and a name that rolled off my tongue, ‘Sweet Sapphires’, there they were. I was mesmerized.
However, at ‘two bucks ninety-nine’, these little jewels were going cost me a bit more than I normally would pay for grapes this time of year. Nevertheless, if they tasted as good as they looked, and they looked good (the picture doesn’t do justice) the decision would be easy.
I like ‘observing’ people, not staring but just noticing their behavior, idiosyncrasies and habits. Aren’t you repulsed by folks who stand over the grapes, pinch a few from open bags to sample, then walk away or buy a different bag? How uncouth! And the ‘perps’ generally are Seniors, older people who should know better.
Yet, I must admit these ‘Sweet Sapphires’ were tantalizingly attractive. I sensed they were teasing me. Then, I reminded myself, ‘Hey, I’m a Senior’ and there was my ‘in’, my excuse, the justification for what I sensed was about to happen.
In a moment of personal weakness, I was overcome with the same sense of entitlement these Seniors seem to have when fiddling with the fruit. My values became compromised, my judgement clouded and like Sandburg’s fog, I was surrounded by silence, guilt free, or so it seemed, as I stood fixated on those ‘Sweet Sapphires’.
My mouth was awash with the swill of free flowing saliva. Discipline, be damned, I cast caution aside and succumbed. Delicious! No one grabbed, scolded or even glared contemptuously at me. Ahhh, entitlement, Senior style, it could be addictive.
I didn’t stop with grapes, I moved on to bananas and separated my number from the bunches. I peeled back the corn husks to check for worms and even squeezed the plums for firmness, putting each one back and moving on.
This freedom to pick and choose exhilarated me as I made my way to the check out with a bounce in my step, albeit slowly and with a gimp. For here was the final payoff of my newly awakened older self, the Senior Citizen discount.
What? Not available on groceries? I knew that but I’m asking anyway. The new me, the entitled Senior, will ask every time. I will tell corny jokes, drive at slower speed and use subpar hearing to my advantage. The wrinkles, baldness, sore joints and rounded shoulders tell the world that I’ve earned this status. It’s an entitlement world for me now, and I’ve got the ‘scars’ to prove it.
Now, if I can only remember where I parked my car…
“Excuse me, young fella!”