Saying ‘No’ gets easier with age

The following is an actual conversation I had with my actual wife.

It was last Saturday. We were walking on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City when my wife spotted two young people riding those electric scooters that, for some reason, people place at random spots for other people to rent and ride around the city.

I don’t understand why people place electric scooters in random places for other people to rent and ride around the city but I also don’t understand why anyone in their right mind would refuse to get a covid shot.

As the nuns used to say “It’s a mystery.”

My wife watched the two young people zip down the sidewalk and said, “We should do that.”

To which I responded: “You’re right. We should do that. I’ve always wanted to visit an emergency room in Kansas City.”

I didn’t want to rent a scooter, I think, is what I was saying.

To her credit, my wife laughed and let the idea of renting a scooter and zipping around the Plaza float away like barbecue smoke at a Kansas City Chiefs tailgate party.

OK, maybe that last paragraph was a case of over-writing.

My wife “dropped the idea” is what I probably should have written.

The point I’m trying to make by telling you about that actual conversation with my actual wife is I’ve reached an age where I can basically say, “I don’t want to do that,” and sometimes get away with it.

Not all of the time. I mean, it’s not a superpower.

But sometimes.

And after years of never getting away with saying, “I don’t want to do that,” sometimes is a pretty big deal.

A couple of years ago, my wife, our now 23-year-old daughter Emma and I were vacationing in the Turks and Caicos Islands. One day my wife announced she and Emma wanted to go parasailing.

Here was my response.

“Have a good time. If something bad happens I’ll be at the bar.”

My wife and Emma had a fine time parasailing and I had a fine time at the bar.

Your basic win-win.

We were in Kansas City last Saturday to celebrate my wife’s birthday with Emma who is currently working in the city.

It was a nice weekend.

On Saturday, my wife and Emma informed me we were going to eat lunch at Gram and Dunn’s, my wife’s favorite lunch place, and then we were going “day drinking” at O’Dowd’s which is right across the street from Gram and Dunn.

See, day drinking is what college kids nowadays call-follow me here-drinking during the day.

When I was in college, we just called day drinking, “Wednesday”.

But you know…different generations.

Surprisingly when my wife and Emma informed me we were going day drinking I didn’t say, “I don’t want to do that.”

I should point out here that my wife and Emma’s version of “day drinking” was much different than my college version of day drinking.”

I should also point out we would be walking back to where we were staying.

Safe day drinking, as it were.

But after we left the restaurant and before we commenced day drinking my wife and Emma announced we were going shopping first.

“I don’t want to do that,” I said.

“Fine.” My wife said. “Why don’t you go to O’Dowd’s and get us a table at the rooftop bar.”

Sometimes I love getting old.

Relax. I said “sometimes”.

When I got to the rooftop at O’Dowd’s there were several tables filled with young women. At first, when I sat down, I think the young women may have thought I was sort of creepy. But after I sat by myself drinking a Budweiser for about 30 minutes, I think the young women started feeling sorry for me.

“Look at the poor, lonely old man,” I could sense the young women thinking.

Later, two young men walked in and took a table not too far from where I was sitting. One of the young men looked vaguely familiar but I wasn’t sure. At my age, all young people look the same.

So there I was a poor, lonely old man sitting by himself in Kansas City at a rooftop bar drinking a beer.

But I didn’t feel poor, lonely or old. I felt happy. I was sitting by myself in Kansas City at a rooftop bar sipping a beer.

A few minutes later, my wife and Emma finally showed up. When Emma got to our table, she turned and walked over to the two young men and gave them hugs.

Turns out the two young men were friends of Emma’s from college. I had even met one of them. The one who looked vaguely familiar.

Emma told me the young man who I met before, sent her a text when he first saw me sitting by myself sipping a beer.

Here is that text:

“Uh, this is sort of random. But would your dad be sitting by himself at a bar on the Plaza?”

That made me laugh.

I spent the next hour or so day drinking with my wife, Emma and two of her old college friends.

It was neat.

And more importantly, it was something I wanted to do.