Cautiously Complimentary

Photo from zythophile.wordpress.com
Photo from zythophile.wordpress.com

Life begins at 40.  I remember reading that somewhere when I was much younger.  I thought, So the rest of your life is an incredibly long warm-up?  The orchestra of your real life is trapped in the pit.  You practice endless runs and arpeggios, chromatic scales that are incredibly annoying and mind-numbing. They remind me of instrumental oatmeal. Or perhaps a very very very long runway, the plane preparing for takeoff.  Bah.

Now, I wonder at the wisdom of that statement.

Today, while leaving the store, I stopped to toss some coins in the Salvation Army bell-ringer’s shiny red bucket.  Next to the faithful, portly steward was an elderly skinny guy sporting a gray beard.  He was chatting up the bell-ringer.

“Hi, beautiful,” he said to me, smiling, as I maneuvered around him to make my deposit. I smiled.  Uncomfortable, I didn’t say anything.

“Wow!  Look at that smile!  Lord almighty,” he said.

As the change hit the bucket, he said, “God bless you.”

I scooted off as fast as I could go.  Awkward!

What is going on here?  I mean, I like compliments.  I will confess I sometimes have difficulty digesting them..from people I know.  But twice in the last two weeks, random men have complimented me.  And with both of them, I wondered if the next thing out of their mouths was going to be a request for spare change.  “Hey baby, got a quarter?”

I don’t dress flashy.  It’s 25 degrees, people!  Fleece/sweater, boots, jacket, done.  I am not in my 20s, nor my 30s.  I like this age and am happy in my skin.  Except when it breaks out.  I think that’s a fair assessment.

I’m not taking any of this seriously.  But it is weird.  And I notice weird; it gets my attention.  Anyone else having strange things happen to them?  Did the aliens land and I missed the memo?  Am I the only one waving a freak flag?  Just wondering.


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