By: David Hester, 33.
I’m pretty sure that safety-vested eldster looked me in the eye and nodded as if to say, “Worry not, child. Nothing will happen to you will I still draw breath.”
Sure enough, when the lights changed, the plucky senior darted to the centre of the deserted intersection and brandished his miniature stop sign at no one.
I figured maybe he was just taking advantage of the extra exercise, but as I passed by I’m pretty sure he whispered, “Be safe, little dude.”
Yes, I know I carry around a Spider-Man backpack, but it’s clearly ironically childish. That doesn’t mean a crossing guard should mistake me for pre-pubescent boy making his way to class.
And yes, I have been mistaken for a minor while playing Fortnite online. And yes, I have taken advantage of this confusion to snatch up the better power-ups. But in person? I’m bald with a beard, for God’s sake. I take Karate lessons and pay for them myself.
To add insult to injury, the next day he patted me on the shoulder and asked, “How was school?” I suppose he could have known that I’m a mature student picking up a few credits in Norse Mythology, but as Thor would say, “Methinks I doubt it.”
If that wasn’t enough, today he asked, “Are you looking forward to your time off this summer?” Which very much implies that I am in high school. And while I am funemployed, how would he know that?
Suffice to say that I was hyper-offended by this treatment. There’s no need to treat me like a teen unless you work at a TTC toll booth and I’m trying to run my student pass scam.
In the end, as a man who has been trained by society to ball up his anger into a part of his body that generates ulcers, I let this grievous insult pass. I even said thank you to the guard. NOT for keeping me safe. But for filling his twilight years with meaning, whether safeguarding an elementary school-aged child or a grown man who has beaten God of War on hard mode.