I'm old--halfway to my "threescore and ten" as of the 28th of this month, my 35th birthday.
I could wail about the usual signs: I can't play a game of softball without pain. I go to bed before 10:00 (so I can get up to grade papers at 4:30 a.m.). I talk about walking to school through the snow in bare feet, etc.
When we were returning from our Christmas vacation to Florida, I had a big episode of age shock. It took place at Taco Bell, where I ordered two bean burritos, only to be charged $2.25. What????? I went into a coma of sheer nostalgia.
It was my freshman year in college when the Taco Bell Value Menu first came out. Burritos that had cost $0.85 were slashed to $0.59 each and stayed that way for the next five or six years. They were so cheap, my friends and I could eat two meals at Taco Bell for the price of one meal at the cafeteria. For $2.85 I could get three bean burritos, a drink, and a chance to talk with my favorite Taco Bell employee, Johnathan George, whose sister, Jenny, I had the hots for.
"Have you heard from Jenny?" I asked him every time I was there. He usually smiled and stammered and said something about not having her address (she was serving in Africa as a volunteer my junior year). Of course I always recited her address from memory.
I remember how my roommate Calvin claimed he was "saving money for his wedding" by ordering water with his Taco Bell orders and then sneaking over to fill the cup with soda--a 75-cent savings every visit. Classic times, those.
So when I paid $1.05 per burrito two weeks ago in South Atlanta, I knew an era had come to an end.
Alas, there is no free lunch; and there are no 59-cent burritos. Life is a bitter, bitter thing, man.