My wife and I have discovered another of the many advantages of aging.
It involves — usually — an alert local resident in a place where one travels.
We have just returned from a two-plus-week journey Back East. Our most easterly destination was Washington, D.C., where we visited our niece and her husband.
We were holed up in an RV park in suburban Dumfries, Va., about 12 miles from a train station where we would board the Metro for a 20-minute ride into “the district.”
On our final full day in the D.C. area, we went to the Metro station realizing we had to put more money on our “Smart Cards” that enabled us to ride the train.
We approached the wall containing the automatic machines where we would replenish our cards. I guess we looked like two old folks who didn’t have a clue about what we were about to do — which was accurate.
Immediately upon arriving at the wall with the machines, a Metro employee swooped in. “Do you need help?” he asked in a heavily accented voice; he clearly was not an American. “Yes,” we both said in unison.
“OK, how much money do you want to put on the cards?” he asked. “Where are you going?” We told him our destination. He barked out rapid-fire orders. When we didn’t respond quickly enough, he started punching the keys himself.
“Does this amount cover a round trip fare?” I asked. “Oh, you want to come back?” he responded. “We have to add more money.” So he did.
Boom! Just like that. We were done.
“Have a great day ,” he said with a broad smile.
Then I asked: “Did we look like two old people who didn’t know what they were doing?”
“Um, yes,” he said without hesitation.
Hey, getting old ain’t so bad.