Lim: Certified senior

Lim: Certified senior
SunStar Lim

As I drove up to the parking attendant booth at a strip mall, my stress levels shot up in anticipation of the struggle to find a parking spot. But voila, I spotted one. Alas, it seemed only to be for delivery vans.

I immediately appealed to the parking attendant, “Can I please park there?” pointing to the seemingly unattainable parking spot that caught my eye. “I won’t be long,” I continued to plead my case.

Without saying a word, the parking attendant got on the radio and yelled, “Senior wants to park in delivery area!”

I felt the knife slice through my heart.

I could not believe my ears. Senior? How could she presume that I was a senior citizen? Was it my sullen expression? Was it my face au naturel? Or both? Oh well, I’d been busy. And I was having a bad day. I wasn’t at my best.

But why was I making excuses for looking like a senior citizen? I was one.

And what was I complaining about? I got to park in the delivery area because I was immediately lumped (or should I say dumped?) into the category of senior citizens and I didn’t even have to show proof for it.

By virtue of how I looked and acted, I was immediately marked, “certified senior.”

It must have been my pleas to bend the rules that gave me away. But I really had no cause for complaint. At least, unlike other people who had been mistaken for senior citizens long before they turned 60, I had actually turned 60, two weeks before.

Perhaps I was still reeling from the high of having been told I didn’t look like a senior citizen when I visited the offices of the Commission on Elections as well as the Office of Senior Citizen Affairs to process my Senior Citizen ID.

Don’t get too excited on my behalf. I was wearing a mask then. Obviously, without my convenient age-altering camouflage, my real age was unmasked.

Some two weeks ago, I arrived in the United States. After a good night’s sleep at my sister’s house, I decided to walk to my brother’s house the following morning. It was less than a two-minute walk away.

To my horror, however, I could not find my way to my brother’s house. Somehow, an entire row of house numbers had mysteriously disappeared.

“What is happening?” I asked myself. “Was I having a stroke?”

I walked back to my sister’s house then walked out again. I still couldn’t find my brother’s house. I started to panic. I decided to return to my sister’s house while I could still find my way there.

I then frantically messaged my brother, “Come and get me. I can’t find my way there. And I don’t know why.”

As it turns out, I made the simple mistake of turning left (which was my running route) instead of turning right. I’m not sure if it was the heatwave in the northeast that baked my brain or just plain old age that did it.

So, the good news is that it wasn’t a stroke—just a senior moment. The bad news is—many more of these moments are certain to come.

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