curmudgeonThis has been a difficult year: my wife’s breast cancer, COVID and the isolation that it brought, adapting to life in new place away from old friends in our 70s.   Both my wife Muri and I agree that this year has aged us more than a year.  I won’t make a guess about how many years it has aged us but I do know I entered the year a fairly content seventy-five year old and find myself, at the year’s end much more of a curmudgeon than I care to be.   One of the things that has made the year livable was living near my daughter, Amy, her husband, Lars and our grandchildren, Reed, Maddux and Savy.  We have not lived near family in many, many years and beyond the comfort of knowing they are nearby, we had the joy of seeing them, albeit less than we’d have liked because of COVID.   Of course attending the grandkids activities is wonderful (Reed swimming and water polo, Maddux soccer and Savy dance) but just hanging out together, talking or playing games is special, too.  And we are lucky that we are not only relatives to our daughter and her husband, we are friends.  One of the things we have missed due to COVID is going out to dinner with just the adults, where we could talk (and laugh about) adult things.

But with our vaccinations a few weeks behind us, last week we decided to venture out with Amy and Lars to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner.   Conversation was lively and dinner was excellent.  It was a perfect evening.  Until.  The check arrived.  In honor of COVID, Cheesecake Factory is using checks that are paid using a QR-Code printed on theQR check.  The waitress took a look at my shiny bald head and graying eyebrows and said, I can take care of that for you if you want, sir.  Before I had time to be insulted, my daughter chimed in:  Oh, I’ll do it for him, reaching for the check.  Now, in spite of the first paragraph, I try hard not to let people treating me like an old man bother me.  But really … I have  Ph.D in electical engineering and I am about as tech-savy as any old goat I know.  And I know what a &*^% QR-Code is.  So I grabbed the check, muttering, I can do it, I’m an engineer, took out my phone and began to scan the code.

Things went downhill from there.  It took me longer to scan the code than I expected, and once I did, I had trouble finding the authorization I needed to enter on the app.   Having made my stand as an aging but brilliant engineer, I began to feel the eyes of my family on me and see some amusement on their faces.  Somewhere between failing to get the authorization into the app and the return of the waitress, I tried to take a drink from my water glass and missed my mouth, spilling it down my shirt.  Feeling like a very OLD ex-engineer, I surrendered and handed my credit card to the waitress, thinking my humiliation was done.  Not,  My credit card was declined, at which time my son-in-law observed, Well, that’s embarrassing.  Indeed it was.  And so I exited the Cheesecake Factory, wet-shirted and feeling OLD.   A day later, the whole episode seemed funny.   But at the time?   Definitely not.

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3 Comments on “Old”

  1. r.Douglas Says:

    I feel ya. But then again it’s a story you can dine out on for a while. Nice write.

  2. barrythewiz Says:

    You’re the last person in the world I would have expected that to happen to!

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