As the blue lights displayed the price of my morning coffee, the young barista from behind the counter smiled.
“Nice hair,” he said.
“Excuse me,” I said.
“I like your hair,” he said, pointing towards his own as to help my foggy mind process his words.
“Oh, thanks,” I said, a bit confused of where to go from that point.
In a moment of inspiration (or nervousness) I heard myself blurt out a few clumsy words to hopefully wash away the awkwardness on my part.
“Yeah, I’m from the 80’s,” I said.
The barista’s eyes lit up.
Unfortunately his math was not quite the same as mine. While I meant I grew up smack dab in the middle of ‘generation excess’, he most likely meant he was still wearing a diaper when Dick Clark rang in 1990.
This creeping clock of time is becoming a bit more evident with each passing day.
Recently my wife and I found ourselves talking about a couple we’d run across while traveling. Somewhere along the line, however, she confessed to me something very private to her.
“You know, I’m not sure of her age,” she said. “Sometimes I’m lucky if I can guess within 10-years anymore.”
A tsunami of relief suddenly washed across me. As much as I’ve always believed I could accurately estimate the passing of time or someone’s age, I am increasingly recognizing there is ‘a disruption in the force’. One of my biggest fears in life is I would one day turn into one of those older people who regularly inaccurately referenced ‘a movie a few years back about a giant shark that ate a boat.’
Even my sensitivities for fashion seem to be eroding. Where once I could tell the difference between a current or year-old version of a shirt, I now have retreated into staples – my radar dulling to the changes around me. Sometimes I walk out the door not knowing if what I wearing looks updated or like I got dressed in the dark.
All of this reminds me of a few years ago when our teenage daughter discovered a plastic tub of treasure hidden away in the house — a trove of old t-shirts.
For those of our generation, there are very few things that carry the emotional value of a worn out concert t-shirt. While we struggle remembering our current zip code or if we took our morning meds, we still seem to know everything about the night we acquired this powerful bookmark in our life. If you ask my wife, she can recall with crystalline clarity who she went with, what the weather was like, and even what friends she saw at the concert. For her, these are powerful time capsules – each ready to be released at a moment’s notice.
Time is a funny measurement — as is our ability to recall or estimate it’s passing.
All of which brings me back to the barista at the coffee shop and his estimating of time. Yes, we are both from the 80’s. But the difference is only I can say, “been there, done that, got the t-shirt.”
– 30 –