Dan and I grocery shop together. Each of us carries a shopping list and pushes a cart. We separate as we enter the store and meet again at the registers. It’s a time-efficient way to carry out a task.
Today Dan dropped me off at the store’s entrance because it was raining. He parked the car. Then we walked into the store.
There a young woman spoke to us.
“I knew you two were a couple!” she said. “You’re adorable!”
Now, hear me.
Our 16-month-old granddaughter is adorable.
Kittens and puppies are adorable.
Dan and I are not adorable.
Jessica Tandy is adorable in Driving Miss Daisy, as is Morgan Freeman.
Ed Asner’s character in Up is adorable, though crotchety. Helen Hayes is an icon for adorability.
Dan and I are years away from being adorable. I’ll thank people to recognize that.
Besides, who approaches strangers in a store to make trifling comments? I don’t.
I’m betting this woman never tells two 30-year-olds they are adorable.
Why was she comfortable telling us we were? Did she think we appreciated being reminded we are no longer young or middle-aged?
She saw we did not struggle to stand erectly. Neither of us used a motorized cart. I wasn’t wearing old-lady shoes. Dan had not pulled the waistband of his pants up under his armpits.
We are competent, independent, post middle-age adults. Both of us use smartphones and bank online. We navigate roundabouts, even dress ourselves.
Yet, people expect us, this unadorable couple, to accept sugar-coated, old-people comments with grace.
They wait for our “Why, thank you.” Then they watch us shuffle away, hoping we make it to our parked cars.
This woman should be glad I wasn’t carrying a cane.
After we finished shopping, Dan and I approached the registers to pay for our purchases.
Here another young woman smiled and asked, “Did you find everything you needed, Honey?”
Then, handing me my receipt, she said, “Thank you, Sweetie.” She made a point of lifting my gallon of milk into the cart for me.
Had it not been raining, I might have asked Dan, “Think we can get all this home on our skateboards?”
Business owners should train employees to be courteous but not coddling; professional, not patronizing.
Spare me the special treatment.
It will be worse this winter.
Well-meaning folks offering arms to us as we walk across icy parking lots. Neighbors asking if we need them to run our errands so we can avoid driving on snow-covered roads.
Not to mention those infernal reminders to bundle up, call if you need help, and don’t risk breaking a hip or getting the flu. It can be dangerous “for people your age.”
We are not adorable. We’re too young for such niceties.
God willing, we will one day be adorable.
Don’t rush us.
Unadorable Couple in Alaska July 2018