I got my first ever "Senior Discount" two years ago yesterday.
Before I tell you this story, I need to give you some background history. You see, I've never really been a fan of the older generation. I tend to think that, in general, some of them can really be pushy simply because they are old and think they deserve to be treated in a certain way. Sometimes I think I have some sensory issues, because the smacking/licking/coughing noises that people naturally make are very, very difficult for me to stand. And this generation makes a lot of those noises. I think you need to know that I do believe there are really sweet, thoughtful old folks out there. But the church I was forced to go to as a child was FULL of very mean, judgmental, pushy old people. I was one of the few children there. This experience really jaded me. Since the death of my grandfather, my grandmother has rapidly gone through a transformation into a miserable old lady. OK, end of gross generalizations, and onto the story!
Two years ago, I went through my own personal hell called a DayTripper trip to see the terracotta warriors from China. My grandma really wanted to go. I knew this would be a hard experience for me, but I was willing to do it for her. She signed us up for one of those old people tours. We met the bus at a park and ride. As we got on the bus, I was the only, I do mean the ONLY non-silver hair on the trip. No one was even remotely close to my age. Every single person on there was old. As I walked to our seat, I heard a woman say "She's too young to be on this trip. Is that allowed?" As we were seated, the smell of strong floral perfume almost knocked me over. They started the bus ride by offering us a snack. We got a tiny can of juice and our choice of a hard granola bar (in the green package) or a soft granola bar (in the silver package).
We rode the bus north to a Chinese restaurant. Before going in, we had to put on DayTripper stickers. I made a beeline for the bathrooms to beat the old ladies to the toilet. The line was massive. The walkers really made the restroom line even longer. While waiting to use the bathroom, one old lady told me that she would have to go before me because she really had to go to the bathroom. The lady behind me told me that if the handicap stall opened next that I couldn't take it, because she needed more room.
We ate lunch in tables of 10 people. They put the food on a Lazy Susan in the middle. My grandma kept spinning the Lazy Susan while people were serving themselves food. We did have an interesting conversation about living in Alaska. Did you know that in Alaska they don't pay state or sales tax, and they get PAID to live there?
Back on the bus we went, with lots of creaking and groaning as they got on. We arrived at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California. It's a really cute little museum if you're ever in the area. We piled very slowly off of the bus and waited our turn to go into the terracotta warriors exhibit. We went through a gemstone exhibit that was pretty interesting. The "butting" in line and pushing began here. The old folks all want to see what they want to see, when they want to see it. They seem to be incapable of waiting their turn. Suckers like me who tried to wait their turn got gypped out of seeing anything. Soon, it was time to see the warriors. They handed all the old folks those phone-like speakers to listen to the tour. The entire crowd stopped and crashed into one another, with shouts of "HOW does this thing work?" The entrance was completely blocked. It never dawned on any of them to move to the side and figure it out.
When we got in to see the warriors, I found that there were about 5 other DayTripper groups in there, not just us. It was a sea of silver hair and walkers. I was appalled at how rude and inconsiderate they were. They would literally walk right in front of people to see. They would push. It was maddening. My grandma was just as bad as the rest of them. The old folks kept setting off the alarms because they would lean in too closely to the exhibit. It was hot in there, I couldn't see anything, and I was sick of the pushing. They were so inconsiderate. I really thought I might beat an old person to death with my little speaker thingie.
The exhibit was interesting, but disappointing. If you don't know anything about these terracotta warriors, a farmer in China was digging a well when he found a massive cavernous room full of life size Chinese warrior statues, and horses. There were hundreds and hundreds of them. They are all unique. Emperor Ziagoaoogupaiuhiuhsiuhkns made them to protect him in the afterlife (I can't remember his name). The museum made it sound like they had 100 of these warriors. They really had about 5 of the warriors and then other artifacts like roof tiles from China. A little disappointing. But I must say, those statues are VERY interesting, and I'm sure VERY creepy in mass numbers!
I told my grandma that I was appalled with the behavior of the people, and embarrassed (including her - which I didn't say). She said she knew that she was rude, but she wanted to see it. Not good.
We had to wait a long time while the rest of the old folk finished touring the museum. Then it was back on the bus, for water and cookies. I was very, very car sick and had to pee so badly. As we were nearing the end of our tour, the tour guide said "Would you like any hard candy?" I thought to myself "I bet you anything I know what candy it is. It'll be butterscotch candy, and those candies wrapped in strawberry wrappers." Typical old people candy. Guess what? I was correct.
When we got to the car, I told my Grandma how much I needed to use the restroom. We weren't far by freeway from the house so it shouldn't have been a problem. My grandma insisted on taking the long way because it's more scenic. We caught every G.D. red light on the way. I was in misery. It ended up taking us double the time it normally would have. I was writhing in pain when she says to me "Let's stop at the post office and pick up the mail. I want to see if my Netflix came today." I exploded. "You have GOT to be kidding me!" and I went off. I ended with "And if we stop and pick up the mail for a Netflix movie, I will pee all over that movie, how would you like that??"
It was a long, long, hard day for me. I immediately, after peeing, got back into the car and went to Barnes and Noble for some peace and quiet. I then went to Long's and bought some chocolate.
I never, ever will get old!!!
(Monique, I have another post that I am going to write about that happened to you and I on that same trip. Just wait!)