Boomer in the city | The movie date

“You’re interesting. I like interesting women.”

“Interesting usually means that you don’t like me, but want sex.”

“I don’t usually have sex with older women.”

“What does age have to do with sex?”

“Everything, my darling.”

We’re in his 1956 Lincoln Continental, which is like a hearse. He collects old cars. The windows are shut and the stereo blasts an opera aria. Not to mention he’s hard of hearing and ignores the impatient horns and people yelling profanities.

He’s short and has a big head, no torso and thin legs. Like Humpty Dumpty. He’s European and an olive oil tycoon. I met him at a lecture at the Commonwealth Club on climate control.

“Oh my God! Watch the truck!” I warn.

“Darling, I didn’t know you’re so risqué.”

“You almost hit the truck,” I shout.

He plops his cold, clammy hand on my knee. His hands are cold because of low blood pressure, he explains. “Also the circulation in my feet is bad,” he continues. “It’s hard to feel the gas pedal.”  

He continues to complain about everything — his kids, about how everyone wants him for his money, his ailments, allergies. He lists his pet peeves.

He says he hopes the movie will be over early, as he doesn’t like to dine too late. “I have regurgitation problems,” he says.

“That’s why I prefer younger women,” he persists. “They don’t have our problems.”

“My regurgitation is fine.”

“Lipitor?”

“Of course,” I say.

“Do you hydrate?” he persists.

“What is this, a resume?”

“Most women over 60 either have arthritis, diverticulitis or lumps, and want me to be the dummy to take care of them.”

“That’s ageist.”

“I read your columns — you write about old, defective men. You need new material, darling.”

“You should come to my Age March,” I say. “It’s a movement.”

“I don’t want to march with old people,” he says. “It’s depressing.”

“My age march is to celebrate our real ages; it’s age pride for all ages, for everyone. You judge people by their number. You need to find joy.”  

“Joy is when my bones don’t hurt. When I see a 25-year-old girl.”

“The alternative is not to be here at all,” I say.

He cuts in front of a woman trying to park her car, taking her spot. He pops out a disabled sign and sticks in on the dashboard.

At the movie theater he buys assigned seats. I hate assigned seats. Why can’t we sit where we want?

Worse yet, he snorts a lot. “Allergies,” he says. “The terrorists are poisoning the air.”  

The theater inside is so dark I can’t see. I hang on to the wall while he stumbles up the stairs to the back row. Once my eyes adjust to the dark, I realize that there are only two people in the entire theater.

“Let’s sit closer,” I say. “The theater is empty. I don’t like sitting in the back and in the middle. I’m claustrophobic.”

He sighs. “That’s exactly why I don’t date women our age. It’s always something. If she doesn’t have a fear of heights, she chokes in a restaurant. The last one died on me. You’re too neurotic darling.” He sighs heavily. Plops his cold hand on mine. The movie starts.

I like the film, “The Light Between Oceans.” I even cry. The acting is superb and the script is elegant. What could have been melodramatic is emotional and exquisite.

I’m so into the film that when it ends I sit mesmerized and at first don’t notice that my date is slumped over. Oh my God, is he dead?

“Are you OK?“ I say, tapping his shoulder. He doesn’t move. He’s cold.

I rush to the manager and he calls the medics. They work on him, stretch him out on a gurney and say he’s had a stroke. I stay with him at the hospital until his son and daughter-in-law arrive.

In the taxi on the way home, I watch the stars float in the sky like bright, gentle moments. Even if we have a bad date, bad health — anything, like the stars, it’s the moments that count.

Barbara Rose Brooker is a native San Franciscan, author and founder of the Age March, to take place Dec. 4 in S.F. She will sign copies of her new book, “There’s Something Wrong with All of Them!” and give a talk on “Defying Ageism” at 12 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Commonwealth Club, 555 Post St., S.F. www.barbararosebrooker.com

Barbara Rose Brooker
Barbara Rose Brooker

Barbara Rose Brooker is a native San Francisco author. CW is making a pilot for a TV series based on her book "The Viagra Diaries." Barbararosebrooker.com.