Getting Older

I couldn’t remember the name of the watch repairman.

All my brain could say was "Walter Odemer".  Who was Walter Odemer?  Then I remembered, back in ’74, when I moved to L.A., Walter Odemer controlled Blaupunkts.  So if you went to the BMW dealer and you had a problem with your radio, you didn’t deal with Hoffman Motors, the automobile’s then distributor, but Walter Odemer.  Walter Odemer couldn’t still exist, could it?  Certainly not the man himself…  All those Germans who controlled the world of BMW and Mercedes certainly had to be dead by now…

Hell, even most car stereo places have gone out of business, now that cars come with much better radios.

What was the name of the guy who repaired my watch, that Rolex sent me to?

That was back in ’77, just after I’d gotten the watch, when I was still in law school.  Hell, that’s thirty years ago!

I drove by his last location on Bundy.  Walter GOODEN!  I guess I was on the right track.

I came home and I Googled him.  They had his whole story.  How Rolex had put him in business.  Back in ’76.  Turns out he was born in Panama in 1930 and started fixing watches when he was thirteen.  Hell, that’s a lot of experience!  Now he must be…seventy seven?

I’d just seen him.  When my watch stated to lose time.  I’d stopped by his emporium.  He didn’t look that old.  Then again, he’d shaved all the white hair evident on my previous visit.  Still, his insides were aged.  Was this an advantage or disadvantage?  Was he so worldly that he’d be schooled in the nuances of my thirty year old watch or…did I need someone younger?

I went to the dentist today.  And the woman who cleaned my teeth was a newly-minted dentist herself.  She used this special water tool, that emitted a high-pitched whine.  Turns out it removes discoloration.  I don’t ever remember having that treatment before.

And then the dentist himself showed up.  He told me one of the guys who died in the avalanche in Wrightwood was his patient.  He’d been watching TV and had been shocked to see his picture.  I asked Dr. Wood how old his patient was.  And I was informed that the deceased was his contemporary.  But exactly how old was Dr. Wood?  Certainly older than me, no matter how buff he appeared.  And if he’s older than me, with a daughter who’s a dentist herself, he must be over…sixty?

I read in a ski magazine earlier today that times had changed, that it wasn’t like back in 1985.  1985 is relatively recent in my book.  Certainly before shaped skis, but long after the Rossignol surge of the late sixties, when Stratos took over the slopes.

And then on the back page, Warren Miller was instructing us not to try and compete, to impress our aged buddies, that he believed we had only so many bumps in our knees.

My knee!  I’d escaped the slopes unscathed, but after our flight out of Eagle was canceled Monday night I’d slipped on the ice…  I stayed on the ground for a good thirty seconds, I was convinced I’d fucked something up.  I think I dodged a bullet, but I’ve got some soreness.  How long is that gonna last?  I would have brushed it off if I was still a teenager, even a twentysomething.  But at my age, you don’t heal that fast.

At my age?  How old am I?

When my father was my age, he had two kids in graduate school and another in a private college.  He was an adult.  I don’t feel like an adult.  Is the glass half empty?  Shit, is the sand in the hourglass running out?

Those kids in the van on the way to Denver…smoking as soon as we pulled up at the airport…  Don’t they know that kills?  And what about mercury in fish and red meat…  Do I live large and not worry about losing a couple of years of my life…  Or do I fight, struggle for every minute?

Soon, I’ll be gone.  Just a memory in the minds of the people who knew me.  The world will still be here, but inhabited by all new people, who’ll have no idea I ever existed.  They’ll think we always had the Internet and hybrid cars.  They won’t be dazzled by e-mail, certainly not by mobile telephones.

So do I stay with Walter Gooden or trade him in for a younger man?  It’s a big investment, approximately $350 to fix a Rolex.  I’m not interested in throwing anyone a bone.  I want success.  I don’t want the thing to go haywire like when I was swinging my arms at that Guns N’ Roses concert.

Guns N’ Roses?  What was that, 1991?  When Eddie Rosenblatt still ran Geffen Records?  Has it been over twenty years since "Appetite For Destruction"?

Yup, Axl’s had plastic surgery and Slash has written a book and there’s been no new music.  And, if there was, would anybody care?  Who would play it?  Are they just an oldies act now?

Stick around long enough and cool goes out the window, we end up alike, we’re all in this together.  And then we’re gone.

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