How old are you?

It seems that I will have to start taking more pictures… posts without pictures just don’t quite cut it!   I just returned from my latest adventure, and I am still processing the details, but one in particular has grabbed my attention.   There are a hundred different threads to weave here, and I am afraid that I won’t do it all justice, but here is my attempt at 5 am in the morning!

This is about  a trip to Maine that began three days ago and ended just last night.  The purpose of the trip was to meet with a fellow to do a soil test on a piece of property in Phippsburg Maine.   Although not quite finished with the house project that my wife and I began 4 years ago, we are already looking ahead to the next one, perhaps I am doing more of the dreaming at this point, but I am feeling supported by my loving spouse, and that is all important, as I have discovered in the past..

The adventure unfolded along the way.  About 5 hours into the trip, I decided to contact  dear friends, Jud and Frances,  in NH, and ended up diverting my course, ending up at their home for the evening, sharing stories and laughs and falling asleep to the sound of loons on lake Winnepesaukee.  The next morning, before resuming my trip, I was glad to climb to their roof to sweep the piles of pine leaves left over from the winter storms.  At 88, Jud has recently given up chainsaw work and climbing on roofs, but I know that he longed to join me with a broom!

We wrapped up the visit, sitting on the dock with a cup of tea, enjoying the warm spring sun and one another’s company.  Jud told me a story..      two farmers  were leaning against a fence when a hen raced by, followed by a rooster just a few seconds behind.  The chicken ran around the barn and was about to make another pass by the farmers.  The first farmer reached into his pocket and withdrew a few kernels of corn.  “Watch this”  he said.   Just after the hen passed by, he threw the corn on the ground..  the rooster stopped to eat the corn.   The second farmer pondered for a minute and then remarked ” I hope I never get that hungry..”

And then it was time to get back on the road..  another 3 hours to my destination, Brunswick Maine, where I spent Sunday afternoon roaming around the 3 acre plot of land in question and exploring the town of Phippsburg.      In the evening I  met some more recent friends, Ken, Julie and their daughter, Adel.    We had a wonderful dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant in town, followed by a stroll through downtown and then a desert of gelato.  The highlight of the evening was a visit to Ken’s shop where  we watched the sunlight fade over the bay.   For the next hour or so our conversation roamed from one topic to another as Ken showed me the various projects that he has been working on.   And then it was back to my motel and off to sleep in preparation for the Monday meeting. 

I met Jamie ,  our realtor, and Dick, the fellow she had recommended for the soil test,  at 8 am. We walked the land and Dick was able to find a suitable site for the test.  The results were favorable, and we reached a general agreement on how we would proceed.   Then it was off to the bank where I met the loan officer whom I knew only through phone and email contact.  The paperwork was in order and the final task at the bank was to open a checking account.  The loan officer  said “let me see if a csr is available.  

Of course, this was not my first trip to a bank, nor was it the first time that I have applied for a loan, but csr?  that was new lingo for me.    He then introduced me to Esperanza,  a customer service representative..  of course..   a very pleasant csr!   I immediately understood that we had a connection.  We were both from away.   There are two types of folks in Maine..  those who were born there, and those from away..   and I can tell you that Esperanza is not a native Maine name!   As we spoke, we found another connection.  She and her husband, who happened to be a native of the state, live in Phippsburg, our intended home away from home!   Esperanza was very helpful, describing the options for accounts.   It was obvious that she did not want to presume when it came to explaining the free account checking account which required on line statements..  ” are you comfortable with computers?”  she politely asked..  I smiled and replied “yes”.  of course, in my mind a slightly sarcastic ” do i look that old”  thought crossed my mind, but this situation did not warrant sarcasm, and I would never be impolite to a csr.. 

Esperanza hesitated and then asked ” How old are you”    This question sent my mind racing..  how old am i?    why would a csr ask a question like that..  isn’t there some kind of discrimination law that would prevent her from doing so?   And then I looked down at the pamphlet that she has spread open on her desk and watcher as her finger hovered over an option..   senior checking..    Now you might believe that this was a light bulb kind of moment, but no..  it was much more gradual..  the solution slowly solidified in my brain..  “are you comfortable with computers”,  “how old are you”..   wait a minute, I was just on a roof yesterday morning, sweeping pine needles to the ground!    I think like a 29 year-old, and I still ride my bicycle!   sure i don’t have much hair left on the top of my head, and my beard is grey,  but senior checking?  

The sad fact is, that as tenaciously as I try to hold on to middle age,  I am only two years away from senior checking 😦    But what young bank executive made the decision to set the age limit for senior checking at 55?  It must have been a committee of young bank executives, meeting all day,  wrestling with the momentous decision about the transition from middle age to the status of a senior  and then going out after work and celebrating their accomplishment..    

I smiled, and said, ” no, i don’t qualify for that just yet.   Esperanza might have saved the day by saying ” I didn’t think so”  but, apparently she had no way of knowing how much she bruised my ego.  Instead, she continued in her pleasant, helpful manner, and we completed the transaction.   And then I shook her hand and headed back to Phippsburg for one more look at the lay of the land before turning the truck south and heading back to Pennsylvania.

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