Double Nickel

The long-awaited day has arrived. Indeed, this is the precise moment in time I have talked about and leaned toward for a couple of years.

Today I am officially a senior citizen at Peet’s Coffee. Ever since Peet’s opened in the corner of our neighborhood supermarket, I have been answering the question, “One punch or two?” And I have honestly answered, “Only one . . . for now.” The clerks behind the counter have looked warily at my greying, thinning hair and have reluctantly punched my frequent drinker’s card a single time.

You see, I knew my day would come. This is one of those life moments that counteract the generally negative thoughts about aging. In fact, for me it might be one of two. The first one was becoming a grandfather. What a great and wonderful thing! And right after it comes gaining senior status at Peet’s. (Many of you may point to my membership in AARP which was achieved 5 years ago. But I would argue that I have yet to find the pleasure in receiving magazines pointing out what can be done for those parts of me that aren’t working right and identifying those biological failures yet to come.)

I was wrong. My day did not come. A friend, Homer, broke the news to me on the day after Christmas. “Do you have any of the frequent drinker cards left?” he asked in a voice reminiscent of an eight-year old in search of a Mickey Mantle rookie card. When I looked puzzled, he explained, “They’ve discontinued the program. You can use the cards you have, but they’re not issuing any more.”

Minutes later, I looked remorsely at the card in my hand. It was full of punches. So, I thought, this is the way it will end. My last free cup of coffee — and it will be consumed while I’m still a junior citizen.

Maybe I should have saved that card until today. Perhaps Major Dickinson’s blend would have tasted that much better as a free one.

I’ve considered my options. I thought about writing a letter to the CEO of the supermarket, threatening a class action age discrimination suit. But I seem to remember something in our ethics course in law school about spurious law suits. I also thought about changing coffee shops. I even shopped around a bit. And I also considered giving up coffee.

But for today, I went to Peet’s, plunked down my money and got my coffee. I think I’ve grown accustomed to things anticipated not being quite what I imagined. Call it what you will — acceptance — contentment — acquiescence — resignation. It’s life.

And the real eye-opener (and caffeine-free) is knowing that most of the happenings in my life — the things that surprise or unfold without my design or effort, are so much better and delightful than what I could have asked for. God has a way of doing that.

So, at this milestone, I set aside my pride in attaining this now-expired status and I quote the imminent philosopher, Yoda, “Blessed, I am.”

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