You shall rise before a venerable person and you shall respect the elderly
growing old can be tough. in my 50s, every morning strands of the precious hair on my head would land in the sink drain. at the same time, my mirror sent me the message that my hair color was changing to old man. my coif was in a showdown; would greyness win over baldness? oh my!
years before covid-19, as an attorney who litigated, i traveled places near and afar for hearing and trials. for matters a distance away, i always tried to get their early to avoid traffic as a stressor. with coat and tie, i often would hang out at a local restaurant and have a cup of coffee and review the file. in riverside california, i would sometimes go to a baker’s fast food restaurant. the dual kitchen of mexican and american food is their claim to fame.
one early morning at baker’s, a pleasant young lady rang me up for my cup of coffee. i took the receipt back to my table and looked at it. the horror! she gave me the senior citizen discount. i looked that old?
while the senior citizen label hurt, i appreciated that this worker kept her eyes out for the elderly and made sure that they received their discount without the need to ask. at the restaurant, she was no exception. the staff there, over the years, have been wonderful and responsive to customers.
the episode reminded me of a time when i was in a judge’s chamber with other attorneys. one attorney commented that it was strange that i remained standing until the others had sat down. i was not aware of it. the judge then took the time to explain to the attorney that my standing was a sign of respect for them. she noted that this how people act if they have manners. i didn’t appreciate this fact until she pointed it out. she grew up in that setting as well.
at the the last wedding i attended, there was the reverence for the elderly. people lined up to pay respect to my aunt who is in her 90s. due to a medical condition, she was sedentary. thus, people took the time to find and approach her. it was refreshing to she how many people valued the elderly. for many, a highlight of the event was to spend a moment with her. if you were an outsider looking in, you would have thought she was a celebrity.
my senior coffee moment was more that a caffeine laden event. it stimulated the thought that i was now standing on the fence of being perceived as being young or elderly in society. this notion is met with dissonance as i still feel child-like. my mindset is that of the child looking up at adults. the sad reality is that i am now older than the adults that i looked up to and admired. thus, i am resolved. despite my aches, pains and orthopedic problems, i am resolved to standing to pay respect to the elderly as long as i can.
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