It’s 10:00 A.M. and they’re lined up for lunch at Chick-Fil-A. Diane and I are walking past the Food Court which appears to have become a de facto senior community center. Although we are both in our mid-sixties, Diane and I are the youngest people in sight.

“God, this is depressing,” I say. “Eating lunch at 10:00? Seriously? That’s the schedule of a newborn. Does everyone here sleep 16 hours a day, too?”

Diane does not respond. We’ve been married 44 years and she’s heard everything I have to say at least a thousand times. She knows when to ignore me.

We take a seat at one of the tables as two  mall walkers hurry past us. It’s a beautiful day outside. Why are they exercising in the mall? Of course, I know the answer. The mall is climate controlled; the security is excellent; there is no automobile traffic or uneven pavement to contend with; there are people around to help if you have a stroke or heart attack. The world is a more dangerous place when you’re old.

The girl behind the cash register catches my eye and smiles.

“Go on,” Diane says.

I glance around, pretending like I didn’t hear.

“Go on,” she says in a firmer voice.

I get up from my chair. I know when I’m licked.

The line at Chick-Fil-A is gone. I walk over to the pretty girl with the pretty smile. It’s time to order lunch.

 

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