The Old Man and the Freshman

I was third in line at the checkout at Michael’s Crafts, with no cart, and my hands full. There was a young girl at the head of the line, a cute girl, in the strictest sense of the word. She had on a brown printed skirt, and a very modest top, that accented her innocent and decent appeal. She was not carrying any items to purchase. Instead, she had a folded piece of white paper, with printed lines and handwritten pen marks, which I immediately recognized: the archetypical Application Form.

She was asking the cashier whether it was possible for her to speak to a manager about getting a job. Allie, the cashier (I read her name from a name-tag), muttered something through the store’s intercom system, and another woman, who looked like a manager, since she was dressed well and was missing the tacky red Michael’s apron, approached the girl. The conversation was loud enough for anyone within 10 feet to hear.

So, what my intruding and nosy ears gathered was that this girl already had a job, and was looking for another to help pay for college. The conversation brought back some of my own memories, the days when the only thing you had to offer was your time and labor to make a few dollars, and I couldn’t help but sympathize with her situation. Working and trying to go to school; there is something ineffably charming and noble in that–and all too personally familiar.

But I could no longer relate. I could only reminisce, and sympathize, and be happy for her.

I’m just getting out, and she is just getting in.

And I’m tired of hearing it, and tired of saying it, but I sure felt it this time: “I’m starting to feel old.”