Tag Archives: aging gracefully

Gray hair rant

Really, I’m not hung upon hair, despite previous posts about it.. But I just have to say something about people with gray hair and how they’re treated in the world.

Gray hair does not mean automatically that my knees, elbows, and hips are non-functional.

Gray hair does not mean I hate you because you’re under 30.

Gray hair does not mean I’ve never heard of Netflix.

Gray hair does not mean I’ve never eaten avocado toast.

I could go on. But what I really mean is, before you put me in a box, please take a moment to actually look at me. I have very few wrinkles. I walk so fast I regularly body-check people in the hallway. I experiment with literature and the arts where a bunch of hipsters show up.

My local Target seems to be a focal point for my ranting. The clerks there regularly assume I cannot work the credit card reader or the self-check. Hint: If I’m in the self-check line to start with, do you think perhaps I am able negotiate it successfully? Or am I wanting to subject myself to abject failure by standing in a line where I can’t be successful?

I once lit into the attendant at the self-checkout who literally took my credit card out of my hand and inserted it into the card reader. “Do you know how to code HTML?” I asked. “No,” she said. “I do. It’s just gray hair. I’m not brain dead. I don’t hate technology. I learned desktop computing on one of the first Apples. I can code in several computer languages. I ran a web site at one point.”

Hold on there, Bessie

So after that rant in Target, I saw the clerk again, the one who always makes sure everyone handles the self-check well.

I watched as I waited my turn. And I thought, she’s not profiling people for their appearance. It’s like she had a checklist for possible problems and just leapt into action when someone’s actions fit a profile. She said the same exact thing with the same exact expression to every customer. “Do you need help?”

I must have fumbled with my card without realizing it, the day she grabbed it out of my hand. And I didn’t hear her say “Do you need help?”

In fact as I actually looked at her and interacted with her, I thought, hmmm, she may actually be one of those people who struggles with the inability to read emotions well. To the point that, she is probably classified a person living with a disability, trying to make a living. In fact Target’s put her here because she’ll react in a predictable way, and just get the job done. And keep the line moving. And not react to rants like mine.

I wasn’t taking time to look at her, either. I just reacted to what I, well, didn’t see.

I always have trouble ending blogs. For this one, just, take time to see.