My roommate from college, Cora, and I were lunching the other day and discussing what makes us feel old and “not with it” because it’s been a few decades since we were co-eds. We talked about joints aching, about choices in music and entertainment, about the news and the current seemingly crazy state of the world, and about hairstyles and fashion, and then I told her what really makes me feel AGED besides not knowing how to “stream,” at least what they call streaming nowadays. “I don’t understand acronyms,” I blurted.
“Me too,” she concurred.
“Like what the heck is ROFL?”
“Rolling on the Floor Laughing.”
“See, you are more with it than I am. I was proud of myself for deciphering “LOL.” Then I added, “You know what FOMO means?” She wasn’t sure so I told her I no longer have FOMO. I don’t care what others are doing, not even on a Saturday night. FOMO is a young person’s affliction.”
“Fear of Missing Out?”
“Right on! You’re clever to figure that out! I can’t even remember what an acronym means after I’ve been informed of one’s meaning, five minutes earlier.”
She laughed. We continued to eat our eggplant parmesan, our favorite meal at this Italian eatery, but the serving size of the vegetable medallions had shrunk to the size of half-dollars; we figured it was due to inflation.
“And what about emojis? I read it was something the Japanese created,” I said.
“My kids use them and gifs.”
When I got home from lunch, I decided to educate myself on what, I guess, are modern-day hieroglyphics. I read about animated ROFLMAOs. I learned there’s such a thing as a ROLF graphic and a ROFL smiley face and LOL has an emoticon, and they have poop emoji as well as princess poop emoji and even birthday poop emoji. There’s even an emojipedia.
I thought to myself that this is what it must feel like to be an immigrant to a foreign country when you are over “a certain age.” You must master a completely alien language. Not only are the pictographs puzzling, but sometimes what they convey is foreign to you too.
We stiffly got up from the table and thanked the waitress, who was new to the job and looked barely past puberty at least from what we could tell as she was wearing a mask, and I didn’t have on my glasses. We headed to the restroom before we said good-bye for our car trips back home in opposite directions. My hands were wet because I couldn’t get the automatic dryer to work, and as I exited, I checked to make sure I didn’t have any toilet paper stuck to my shoe, and then we departed happy to have gotten together to reminisce about the bad, good old days and happy to complain about the bad, new crazy days, and as I got into my car, I thought to myself: Age is not just a number. It’s a series of things that change about you and the world around you as time passes on. But you know what? It’s ok. It’s all ok.