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Thursday, July 4, 2013

She Works Hard for the Money; or So Far, Aging Has Been Lucrative


She is drunk.  Not outrageously, and perfectly within reason, seeing as how we are standing outside a bar.

“I’m so sorry to interrupt, but do you have a light?”

We do, and Diana hands it to her.

“Thanks”, she says, exhaling toward the stars.  “I didn’t mean to intrude.”

“You’re not intruding,” I say.

“We’ve just come out for a smoke,” Diana says. “You can join us if you want.”

And she does, because if there’s one thing Northeast Minneapolis is, it’s friendly.  Inside the 1029, a boisterous gaggle of talented drunks are singing karaoke, one of whom who encourages the crowd, to its roaring approval, to “holla, mah ninjas”.

“My favorite part of Nordeast,” the new girl says, “is the age range in the bars.  Twenty-one?  Seventy?  They’re sitting next to each other.”  The streetlamps spill on to the sidewalk, pools of light at intermittent intervals that continue up the block and past two- and three-story houses.

Diana and I nod in agreement.

The girl ashes on the sidewalk.  “I mean, us, we’re all the same age.”

I laugh.  She is clearly younger than I am.

“What,” she says.  “I’ll bet you money that we’re the same age.  I’ll bet you $10.”

I smile at her.  “I’m definitely older.”

“You want to bet?  Within three years, okay?  ”

Along with the admonition to sit up straight, suck in my gut, and straighten the house before company arrives, my parents also instilled a strict money-is-not-for-playing-with policy.  I take a look in my wallet.  I have two dollars. 

“I’ll bet you two bucks,” I say.

We shake on it.  “You’re on.  So how old are you?”

“Fifty,” I say.

Her mouth drops.  She looks at Diana, who is smiling. 

“It’s true,” Diana says, shrugging.  “And yet she lives a remarkably depraved life.”

The girl squints at me.  “Well, I’ll be danged.”

I smile at her.  “How old are you?”

“Thirty-five,” she says, digging in her purse.

I hold up my hands, shake them at her in a gesture of refusal.  “You don’t have to pay me.  I don’t want your money.”

“Nope,” she says, handing me two bucks.  “I always pay my debts.”



And that, my friends, is how I doubled my money last Friday night.

32 comments:

sage said...

50! You're almost as old as I am :) And with a friend who announces to a perfect stranger that you've lived a depraved life...

Indigo Roth said...

Hot damn! Is she still about? I might pass for 35 on a good day, and would have nothing smaller than a twenty on me ;)

Suldog said...

I have found that one of the good things about smoking (and there are some, despite the weight of the other side of the equation) have been the times I've stepped outside to have a smoke and engaged in conversation with others who decided that inner pollution isn't completed merely via drinking. This is especially true during the colder months, since only the truly dedicated puffers venture out into the snow and slush. It is a bonding experience (and particularly useful for sorting out likely companionship for later in the evening - although, being happily married for over 20 years, I haven't found use for that aspect in quite some time.)

Munir said...

I know that once upon a time I did look younger like when I was forty I looked twenty five, but I guess health factors take a toll on you. Now I look all my sixty plus years. No betting or winning for me there.

Simply Suthern said...

Father time has been rather kind to you.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
Okay I admit it, I was waiting for you to lose that one! I wear well for my 54 years but there are several ladies here who are minimum 5 years ahead of me and look 10 years less.

Of course, I refuse to dye the hair. I think Indians invented the stuff. They definitely have shares in it, the amount that gets used around here...

On a different tack - I put some funnies up for all you USAers on this page today. (It'll work - didn't double up on the address this time, I promise!) Happy Holiday to you all. YAM xx

Silliyak said...

4 bucks plus your AARP discount! Wohoo!

Joanne Noragon said...

Those young kids. They don't see forty coming, let alone fifty.

Rosemary said...

Great writing, love the story :)

goatman said...

People still say "danged" in the city?
I'm for it

fishducky said...

I'm 78, but everyone says I don't look a day over 77!!

bill lisleman said...

Doubled your money and had fun doing it. Just wondering - have you ever just joined the smokers for the social part of it and not smoked?

Perpetua said...

If only that could ever happen to me, Pearl..... Go on like this and you'll be able to retire early. :-)

Geo. said...

So, do the depraved always win bets from the, uh, praved?

jabblog said...

Fifty? You must have good genes.
I remember fifty . . .

Daisy said...

Must have been your lucky day! :-)

It must be that fresh Minnesota air that keeps you looking so young.

tiffany rose said...

Dang! Had I known ...

Laughter and a sense of humor keeps you young, I am certain.

vanilla said...

You and a good carnie could clean up bi.g time. How well do you travel?

Tomorrow I go ahead of fishducky.

Elephant's Child said...

Way to go. Making money out of being older has to be a win.

Belle said...

Good for you!

Eva Gallant said...

You're just a youngster next to me, Pearl...I'm 69 next month!

Just Be Real said...

55 here. Hugs.

Juli said...

38 here. Yet my kids still think I'm 37... whatever. I'll take it. :)

jenny_o said...

You've simply GOT to start carrying a twenty tucked away in a secret compartment for those age-related bets!

jenny_o said...

And, shoot, NOW I go back to read the rest of the comments and find I've plagiarized Mr Roth :)

in the coop said...

I won a similar bet last week when I was playing in the pool with my three year old. A young woman asked me if I was the mom or the grandma. OK, it wasn't a bet, and all I won was a ding in my self-image, so not that similar.
Congrats on the big win!

Rose L said...

On June 20th my sister turned 20 for the third time in her life....;^)

Linda O'Connell said...

Everytime those Guess Your Age carnies guess mine, I win a prize, which is not a good thing. Fun post!

Christian at Point Counter-Point Point Point said...

I've heard 50 is the new 30. And 30 is the new 20. Which I guess means you aren't old enough to be hanging out in bars yet. Shame on you.

Kathleen McCoy said...

Oh, to be 50 -- and with a hint of depravity as well as good friends and friendly strangers! It doesn't get much better than that, Pearl!

the walking man said...

At least unlike your young companion you're full potty trained (for now).

Diane Tolley said...

Hmm . . . just how far apart were those streetlights? And could I go there?!