Monday Morning at the Beach

Dec 18, 2018 | 2 comments

There’s nothing like the reality check one gets by doing a few errands here on a drizzly Monday morning.  In one fell swoop, you can get a sampling of the demographics of the area – ages, health, food choices, preferred vehicles.  You can learn about it all – often, whether you want to or not.

I began at the bank yesterday.  There were already three people in line (behind that sign that says for privacy concerns, please wait here) and, before long there were four more behind me.  Two tellers were busy at their windows and two were busy elsewhere, each helping elderly couples.  Customers outnumbered the worker-bees three to one and we probably averaged three times as old as the busy young women employees.

The man in front of me began talking to the man behind me – “Haven’t seen you for a long time… how’s it going?”  And before anyone could say “Next, please” the two were into a heavy-duty discussion about their health issues.  “Essentially, I have no spine anymore,” said one.  “All that’s holding me up are my torso muscles.”  YIKES!

But he was standing tall and straight, perhaps thanks to Rebound in Vancouver for which he had nothing but praise.  I was tempted to weigh into the conversation at that point – Nyel has had many Rebound experiences, as well – but, even though both men seemed to be including me in their discussion, I remained silent.  (Privacy Concerns said the sign.  Though I thought it probably meant banking privacy.) However, I did nod greetings to several others as they joined the end of the line.

Next, I had a prescription or two to pick up.  Another wait in line (brief, this time) but people were spread out and conversations weren’t very possible.  Perhaps the privacy sign at a pharmacy carries more clout.  As at the bank, there were a steady stream of geriatrics coming in to drop off or pick up prescriptions and medications and we outnumbered and out-aged the staff by a goodly number.  And, like my first errand, I had a nodding acquaintance with several of the customers.

Then, on to the drop-off box at the library (which was closed) though the cars (mostly older model SUVs or sedans) in the parking lot and the lights in the conference room suggested a meeting of some kind (maybe Friends of the Library?) was taking place.  I’d guess that the attendees were also gray-hairs; who else would be gathered at the library on a Monday during working hours?  And I felt a smidge of guilt that I had never made time to volunteer there, despite my constant patronage.

Last I went to the grocery store.  There, among the shoppers, I ran into several different friends – all of retirement age but still working at part-time jobs.  Again, we and the other customers out-aged the clerks but, interestingly, there were several gray-haired men stocking shelves and being helpful to shoppers.  I wondered, fleetingly, how many businesses on the beach employ people who have already retired from another job. Or two.

It was all very comforting, somehow.  I felt right at home everywhere I went – certainly better than I ever feel on my brief forays these days into suburbia or the big city.  Once again, I thanked my younger self for making the move to “the beach” (this particular beach!) forty years ago.  It was the right thing to do.


  1. Caroline Miller

    Well, you still aren’t hitting my news feed so I decided to check in on your pages. It’s been a while. Glad to see you’re still writing away. Me too. Happy holidays.

  2. Sheri Stritof

    I enjoy running errands here in the Ocean Park area. The young folks behind the counters somehow remember my name. I can stop at the Post Office, the library, the bank, the grocery store, and pick up prescriptions in 30 minutes! It is wonderful and I sometimes stop at the beach to get a look at the ocean waves. I’m so glad to have made the decision to move here 19 years ago.


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