Friday, June 11, 2004

Old People

Well, this one isn't going to win me any friends, but it needs to be said. I've had it with old people.

Growing up, there was one old person I really did admire. Not a grandparent actually. Not a teacher or a neighbor. It was Obi-Wan Kenobi. Patient. Wise. Understanding. Could still kick a little ass if he needed to. This was my kind of old person. And as a child, I gave every old person the respect I would have given Obi-Wan.

Then I grew up, and two things happened. 1) I worked in a casino for a year where I dealt with old people non-stop. And 2) I got a chance to interact with them in other adult situations: in our banks and post offices, at our supermarkets and stadiums, and on our nation's highways. And now I have a whole new perspective.

Old people are mean sons of bitches. They are at turns angry, petty, selfish, bitter, negative, demanding, infantile, slow-moving, spittle-projecting and whiny. They lack any basic competence in a variety of areas and ask some of the stupidest questions I've ever heard.

I'm sorry to be impugning an entire generation here, but I've just had too many negative experiences with the elderly. Now of course I understand that the body becomes weaker and the mind not as sharp, so I'll make all kind of allowances for that. But the general decline of the body and mind doesn't account for the need to ask a waitress 5 questions about the preparation of the food. It doesn't explain the habit of butting in to the private conversations of strangers, it doesn't excuse making loud and frequent complaints to whoever is nearest about every petty little thing.

I love Vegas, but old people infest every corner of it. And wherever you are, they'll let you know it's too cold, that the shuttle bus drivers are nicer at the Rio, that there was a cigarette burn on the rug in their room...

They'll bitch if the keno girl doesn't come around, then they'll ask to see a supervisor to complaing about the termperature. Sometimes there'll be a hygene issue of some sort that I have to ignore....

To seek refuge I have to go to the Hard Rock Hotel. It's the only place in Vegas that is free from old people. The secret is the lobby. As you walk into the Hard Rock, music that is blasting at an obscene volume assaults your eardrums from every direction. The only way to enter is to walk through this corridor of terrifyingly loud music. This works like a can of pine-scented OFF, repelling the old people like so many mosquitos.

Someday, I too might be old. And I pledge right now: I will decide what I need before I get to the front of the line. I will take what is written on the menu to be the last word on the matter. I will bring a sweater. I won't rattle on forever about what used to be here. If I am driving slowly on a single lane road and notice that there is nothing in front of me but open road and twenty other cars bumper to bumper behind me, I will calmly pull over, say sorry to each passing car, and then shoot myself.

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