The term geezer is meant to describe fellow travelers like me. We are a bit ancient, rusty in the hinges, a bit addlepated in the brain, not as sure footed as we would like to be. Geezers, however, are members of a select fraternity. They tend to talk to each other when they see a fellow fraternity member, no matter whether or if they know who they are or ever expect to see them again. When I see a friendly geezer, I tend to make a comment to them if they have not yet made a comment to me. Here are a few recent examples.
- Geezer at the grocery store pushing a cart aimlessley up and down the aisles: "I don't know what I'm doing. I just push my cart around until I see something I think I should buy and then I hope when I get home I've bought the right thing."
- I asked the geezer at the deli counter how he liked his job. He said he liked it fine and he no longer had to listen to his wife continue to tell him he needed to get a job since she was still working herself. He said he had only been there a week and was still learning. He hoped I liked the cole slaw since he proudly announced he had made it fresh just that morning. I wished him luck as he handed my purchases to me with a big smile.
- I asked the geezer forlornly pushing the shopping cart behind his wife at Kohl's Department Store if he was enjoying himself. I knew the answer ahead of time, and I knew he would merely feel a fraternal bond with my question, since I didn't exactly look thrilled myself by being there despite frequently warning others not to accompany their wives to Kohl's Department Store. The answer, of course, was "Are you kidding?"
- Question asked to obvious frustrated geezer at 2:30 p.m. sitting on bench at entrance to Kohl's Department Store. "How long you been sitting there?" Answer: "Since 9:00 o'clock this morning. She got lost in there somewhere and I can't find her anywhere."
- Comment to geezer getting on the elevator at Dixie Regional Medical Center who was wearing exact same lovely patterned polo shirt as I was wearing: "Nice shirt. Does anyone ever hassle you about wearing polo shirts?" "Oh yes, he replied, "but they are so comfortable." My wife informed me I was not qualified to be a fashion consultant making comments on what people wear as long as I wear polo shirts 365 days a year. Ouch.
- Comment to geezer in the waiting room of the doctor's office after trying three times to push the door open when the sign clearly said "Pull to open." I said, "Of course, you're sitting there having a good time laughing at me." He said, "I couldn't help it since I did the same thing myself."
Some times young people get impatient with geezers and forget geezers are people too. We walk a little slower, we wobble a bit, we forget to put in our hearing aids and drive our wives nuts saying "What did you say?" a million times a day. We wait a bit longer for them to cross the street so we can pass or for them to move down the aisles of the grocery stores. We watch and suffer the pain they obviously often have just taking another step, just raising their arms to get something off the shelf, squinting at the package on the shelf and perhaps asking us if we could reach it or read the label for them, we watch them move haltingly, slowly, with canes, wheeled walkers, oxygen tanks. But they never give up. They never give in to their pain. They are grateful for each day, for being able to see the rain and the sunshine, the snow in winter, the flowers in spring, the changing leaves in autumn. And in case anyone ever asks how we are doing, the answer is, always, "I'm doing just fine, thank you." Geezers love a smile, a good morning, a can I help you, a let me get that for you, a cheerful greeting. And they go home and take their pills, sit in their recliner chairs, turn on the TV, and take a nap.