That ‘aging look’

By Jack Neely,

I took a seat in the spacious waiting room to await my labs. All but one patient was scrolling their “devices.”

I draped my jacket over my chair and settled in with my magazine—never to be kidnapped by that ubiquitous device.

However, it was impossible to ignore the person who sat across from me.

She sat with shapely legs crossed, an iPad opened before her and a large spiral notebook on the arm of her chair. Maybe 35 years of age—she looked younger. Her rather eye-catching sharp features were accented by blond hair cascading over her shoulders.

She looked to be all business but in an approachable velour form. In short, had she worn alligator boots or six-inch stilettos, jeweled or not, she could have set her business activities aside and stepped out of Vogue.

Now in my very late eighties, I recognize how age has changed one’s perception of both the viewed and the viewer in such situations.

I am fully aware that if she looked up a couple of times and saw me looking at her, I may have made her feel uncomfortable. At the worst, she may have seen me to be that dirty old man.

On the other hand, I wonder if others in the waiting room would have seen in my gaze the innocence of Burt Lancaster in Atlantic City (1980) who admired Sally (Susan Sarandon) from afar—while yearning for his lost youth.

There is a fine line between gawking and admiring. Old guys may not recognize the difference but the attended to certainly do.

So—reach back to your long-lost youth—and enjoy.

But do not get caught, for as innocent as you may be, especially with a little smile, your look-see might well be misinterpreted. 

Jack Neely, is a St. Anthony Park resident and occasional freelance writer-sage for the Bugle.

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