Did that 8:00 a.m. Apple thing today, the one where you slow-walk in, with your protective helmet and the lower lip drool, and try to articulate that something is wrong with your RAM or Gigabyte or Hard Drive, and the “four-year-old-girl-genius” behind the slate counter starts giggling at you with the same amount of empathy old people get in freeway fast lanes. She puppy-dog tilted her pierced face at me, reached out a tattooed arm, pressed the on-switch, tapped keys the way hyperactive kids play Whack-A-Mole, and then handed it back to me and said “it’s fixed,” before I could even tell her the damn problem!
The point is, I had a little extra observation time on this uneventful Saturday morning at the shopping mall. Perhaps it’s my ignorance, but I was un-aware malls serve the dual purpose of economic consumption and senior citizen track workouts. As I hoisted and tilted my morning cocoa bean addiction, I was suddenly in the midst of a particularly aggressive AARP stampede.
To my left, a grey-haired gent wearing a low cut sweater and sporting the sort of scrunched neck that disappoints vampires and suggests one of his parents may have been a Pez dispenser, blew by me. I could actually smell the mothballs in his wake. Four seconds later, I heard the scuffing waddle of a blue-haired woman whose hips shouted lifetime of secretarial work. She’d worked herself into a stunning emphysemic wheeze as she hurtled down Level One on her way to what one can only imagine was a post-workout Denny’s breakfast. I thought, “Oh, how sweet, an old couple racing.” Apparently, however, this is the status quo for weekend mornings.
Over the next fifteen minutes, I witnessed what your average thinking man might assume is a Senior Olympics training ground (Viagra,Testosterone and Estrogen jokes withheld due to serious lack of blogspace). Sketchers-wearing women emerged blowing white baby powder from their skeletal walker frames, their mouths lubricated by things caramelly and butterscotch. Patient nurses guided arthritic arms and palsied limbs through step after wobbly step. With rear ends sagging inside long white pants, scaly, crocodile-ish men limped along the floor trying to ignore the instinctive pull of eyes-to-ass, for fear of offending the young department store working women whose current state did not yet include Depends garments. If you listened close, you could almost perceive the hearing aids’ whine.
I’m pretty certain I should be happy about this seemingly inconspicuous gathering of old people. After all, they are getting exercise in a safe place and probably stimulating the economy with their mid-workout caffeine needs and frequent restroom-disposables requirements. But there’s just something a little scary here – sweaty old men and women with aggressive grimaces, awkwardly enhanced by loose dentures, bearing down on innocent mall patrons – and I find it intimidating.
I hear there’s a thing called the Geek Squad – people who come to your house and fix your technology. They say the kids are old enough to drive and they don’t laugh at you when you ask questions like “So what’s the difference between an iPad and a laptop?” More importantly, they don’t come surrounded by angry herds of regenerative elderly people who suck oxygen from aluminum tanks on their way to Gold Medals or hospitals.
Perhaps it’s a rumor. Perhaps I’ll have to spend the next thirty years navigating this labyrinth of aged humanity. Whatever the end holds for me, if you ever see me jogging through malls with a vacant Alzheimers-ish stare and a potent garlic smell, please….tackle me and bring me home.