Getting old is a nuisance although there are benefits. Police in passing patrol cars no longer eye me suspiciously late at night. Lone women in hotel elevators have stopped looking uneasy when I join them.
As a college student in 1965, I wrote a one-act play that won a national award. It was never produced professionally, but a few years ago, a theater group in New York chose it for a staged reading. This was not a big deal, but I wanted to attend.
As soon as I entered the small theater, everyone perked up. I became the center of attention; people introduced themselves; they sat me in the place of honor. For reasons I still puzzle over, the group boasted that its public readings were cold (i.e. unrehearsed). The performance made this only too clear.
Later I realized why everyone treated me so well. No one in that theater appeared older than forty. Since I was past middle-age they assumed I was an agent or producer – an important person. They did not forget their manners on learning I was merely the writer.