Every human being reaches a zenith, a pinnacle in life, a maturity, when you know just about everything you need to live a graceful, successful life. You must feel good about yourself when you reach this high point of human existence. You are confident, wise. You have tested your ambitions and either exceeded them or settled for the cube farm, but at this point it no longer matters. You are too tired to entertain regrets. Your hair is turning a distinguished silver and young people with good manners call you "M'am". You are no longer afraid to defend yourself against nitwits or argue with incompetence. Yes, life is good for the mature adult.
This magnificent peak is a fleeting attainment. The air is too rarified to live there long. I recently slipped a far distance on the other side of this summit the last time I was in the grocery store - Sunday afternoon, to be exact.
For the most part, I am patient and friendly to all people with whom I must do business. They work hard for not much money and deserve to be treated well. In return, I normally get great service. Sometimes I have the good fortune to trade wits with a bright young man. It surprises them an old lady knows what is funny.
As with everything in life, nothing good lasts for long.
I was emptying my cart of groceries onto the conveyor at my favorite grocery store, feeling okay, feeling good. I admit, I may have been taking the good life for granted. A small glass jar of spaghetti sauce slipped out of my hand and exploded on the floor. It made the unmistakable sound of elderly embarrassment that silenced everyone and everything for a moment. I hurriedly asked if the little girl behind me in line was okay, but her mother was already pulling her away from the incompetent old woman into another queue. You would have thought my Depends had leaked.
The sacker, not a boy, but a grumpy old man, older than me, never said a word. He silently went to get the clean up utensils. The checker had already made a face behind my back but continued to be courteous to my face. She had to sack all of my groceries while Mr. Sunshine slowly swept up the glass and sauce. I had to go to the front of the store to get another cart myself in order load the bags and take my own groceries out to the car. I normally do that anyway - rebelling against being considered an old woman - but it would have been nice if someone had been willing to help at that point. But no, I had just created a disturbance. I endangered a child. I made a mess at the front of the store. I took an entire check line out of commission. I made extra work for the oldest grocery sacker in the state of Kansas. And Miss Thing had to sack groceries.
When I left the store, I imagined everyone breathing a sigh of relief and giving one another The Look: "I suppose she is still driving, too!"