To a very young child, 44 seems impossibly….well….old. And it might be.
I’m finding, though, that as I age, what I used to consider old…well…isn’t.
I have friends in their thirties who tell me I’m old. Or worse yet, think that they are so old.
I laugh. Because they’re idiots. And they laugh too. Because they think I’m crazy for laughing.
They’re not actually idiots; not in general, that is. They’re idiots for A) thinking someone is or isn’t old and B) thinking that in the grand scheme of things, it actually matters. I mean, sure, I may have ridden this ball of fun around the sun 44 times….45 if you count the fact that we start counting our age at zero instead of 1 (like somehow the 9 months in the womb doesn’t really count as aging).
I don’t think its your age that makes you old. In all honesty, I think it’s your attitude. I know some 90 year olds that seem so young and I know some nine-year olds that seem impossibly old for their age.
But…I concede…I may be starting to act old sometimes. And maybe that’s a mindset too. But I’m noticing things that I didn’t notice before.
And I’m starting to say things I didn’t really say before.
Such as “the kids these days…”
In my mind, kids these days basically means anyone from age five to age twenty-five. I’ve starting thinking of things in terms of a ‘generational thing.’
What’s funny is…I’m not really so sure that’s because I’m “getting old” (regardless of what the kids these days think).
I think more that it comes from the fact that I’m paying attention now in ways I didn’t before. And that comes from being able to slow the fuck down.
In my younger days….I was always moving (except when I was being lazy). I had pockets of brilliance where I stopped and observed the world and universe around me. Maybe more so than most because I’m pretty sure my mind is wired with a philosophical bend. It used to take me quite some time whilst being still to actually get it. Now the insights come quicker. My mind is used to getting quiet more quickly. I am slower to speak. Preferring instead to observe.
It’s unnerving to some, I suppose, but to me it seems perfectly natural. The natural progression.
It feels good to be completely honest. I think, though, the best part is that most people don’t really know (or care) how old I am. The age really isn’t a factor.
There are some things that concern me, though, with the current youth. Mainly the overdeveloped sense of entitlement and the underdeveloped lack of respect. I know that might make me sound old. And I’m ok with that. Because…those two things are (in my mind) the main reason that people just seem to have forgotten how to be kind to one another. Well, that and unnecessary lane changes on the highway (but that’s a story for another time).
Speaking of a story for another time…,since you managed to make it this far in my random mental meanderings, I’m gonna give you a little something for your perseverance.
Below is the first chapter (unedited) of “The Treachery of Rainbows.” It’s the book I started during the National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo). I post it with no caveats or apologies. It’s a rough draft. It’s going to change, but I figured I’d give you something.
Shane sat on the parkbench. At least that’s what it was called. Far from being a park, the area was in one of the sanctioned atriums of the city. Shane felt solace when he came here. He was alone on most days. Very few of the other Adjusters knew about the atrium and citizens wouldn’t have access to this sector, even if they were aware of it. Shane was sure none did. Any location search pulled up zero check ins. He was in fact breaking the law by not checking in. However, his position of adjuster afforded him some leverage in regards to the legal system.
Shane was from the past. Not literally, but he longed for a simple time when the tech wasn’t such a part of the life. He can remember his parents talking about those times. The times when phones were bound by cords to a fixed location and cameras were a separate device. Such a notion would make the citizens of this time physically ill. It wasn’t their fault. For the most part most of them were born in to the system. The nano tech was administered in the womb. It had proven to be a safer way to keep the fetus healthy until a decision was reached by the regents if that child would be able to contribute to the corporate structure or not.
Again, Shane was a man out of time. The nano tech had not yet been introduced in the rural area his parents retired to. They were so far in years, that a birth was beyond a risky proposition for his mother, it was most assuredly a death sentence. She believed in something bigger though, she believed that the human race was better than the technology. She made it to his first birthday without tech. That’s when the annual bureau sweep discovered the unregistered child and Shane became part of the system.
A familiar buzz came from the left breast pocket of Shane’s crimson tunic. He waited until it was at a fever pitch before pulling the device out and holding it to his ear.
“Dammit Madio, what took you so long? Why didn’t you engage aural nanos?” The voice on the other end of the call was noticeably annoyed.
“I didn’t want to.” Shane’s reply was calm and unnerved his conversant.
“Where are you?”
“On break.” Shane knew that Central wanted to know where he was, not what he was doing. A smile crossed his face, but ever so slightly. Even the Atrium had surveillance cameras and if they ever did manage to work out where he took his breaks, that subtle act of insubordination would most assuredly put him in the ranks of the citizens. And if that happened, he wouldn’t be of any use to anyone. A quick glance at his TIF-N confirmed that the privacy net was still on. Even while engaged in communications with Central, they would be unable to ping him.
“Break’s over. We have a NOD. Sector 17.”
The smile faded quickly. NOD’s were nothing to smile at. They were the most severe of the adjustments that Shane had to deal with. Each NOD, Naturally Occuring Distraction, could serve to take the citenzry away from their tech. And citizens without tech were dangerous.
“What is it, sir?” Shane was all business, as he was talking, he was making short work of the lunch he had packed. Placing it back in his satchel as he headed toward transport.
Shane stopped. A chill crawled up his spine.
“You heard me, Madio. A rainbow. At least 4 confirmed sightings. And Climate Control is at least 15 minutes away from an environmental solution.”
“Fifteen minutes is too long. We’ll lose a dozen more citizens by that time. I’ll be there in 2.”
“Thank you sir.
The comm went dead as the transport pod opened.
“Sector 17. Level Nine Clearance. Authorization Bose Altec Sony Sennheiser.”
“Authorization confirmed.Welcome Agent Madio. Standby for transport.”
Shane pulled the visor over his eyes just as the first sparkle of the particle beams danced on the grid inside the transport pod. Adjusters always wore their visors. Shane was the odd man out. He chose to look at the world through his own inferior human eyes every chance he could.
A ball of light filled the pod. When the light was gone, so was Agent Shane Madio.