File this under: “Men do, Women don’t.” Amend that to read “old men” and “old women.”
The setting: they cater to retired people here in Mayberry (Hendersonville, N.C.). That’s great, for lots of reasons. Often, the Mystery Woman and I are the youngest couple in line at the pharmacy. And we’re cute in our matching outfits.
But I’ve begun to notice the ways men’s attitudes differ from women's as we slide into old age.
Men become comics. Women remain critics.
Here’s how. Just yesterday in the Lowe’s parking lot there was this brief exchange between me and a stranger about my age:
“I can use that cart if you’re through,” he said.
“It’s a one-owner driven only on Sundays,” I smiled.
The Mystery Woman, who had been waiting in the hot van, said, bemused: “Having a little chatter in the parking lot?”
Her advice: Never get behind an old guy in the check-out line, not even if he is in the Express Lane. Nope. He sees the cashier as a captive audience where he can sharpen his stand-up routines.
She may be right. In another parking lot yesterday, a new stranger held the door open for me as I struggled with a heavy, six-foot, thick plank of lumber.
“Thanks,” I wheezed.
“That’s OK,” he said. I can see you’re a little bored.”