I am facing a teenage Latina ticket seller on the other side of the plexiglass window at the AMC Theater in the Marina Marketplace.
"Two tickets for the 7 o'clock showing of Avatar, please."
She studies me for half a moment, then says, "Senior?"
"Did she actually say 'Senior'? No. She must have said, 'senor.' That's it. She was greeting me in formal Spanish. Showing respect."
Though I was the only one in line, she seems impatient, asks, "Will that be two senior tickets?"
I glance at Amy, my wife, who looks far younger than her 57 years. I'm 58, tall, lean, athletic build for a guy my age. But I'm four years shy of senior discounts, the Early Bird Special and my next colonoscopy.
Really? Senior tickets?
If I wanted, if I deserved a senior discount based on my years of hanging around the planet, wouldn't I have said, "Two senior tickets for Avatar. And do you have anything near the screen because we're both slightly deaf and going blind? And occasionally I make involuntary throat noises so people don't like sitting near me. Also the goiter on the side of my neck tends to block peoples' view."
But I am too stunned to nod, accept the combined $6 discount and rip off the man.
Instead I lamely hand this kid my debit card. She could have charged me for the tickets and bought herself some luggage on eBay with my card and I would have said 'thanks' and hurried into the darkened theater.
We sit far away from everyone and share our bag of no-salt popcorn which we bought at Whole Foods and smuggled into the theater because that's what seniors do. Amy turns to me. "Do I really look like I'm 62?"
"Sweetheart, you've raised teenagers. They're all idiots. And they think anyone over 28 qualifies for Medicare. Besides, she was looking at me. Not you."
"No, she looked at me, too."
"And was probably wondering what a knockout like you was doing with a guy who she thinks puts his teeth in a cup of water before he goes to bed."
I am told Avatar is a stunning visual achievement, a great movie, an instant classic. The young people around me seemed to enjoy it. I fell asleep halfway through.