Rough in the Diamond
Rough in the Diamond
GEICO sent me my auto insurance bill for the next six months. The premium was up 18.5% over the last bill. That's $238.00, or $576.00 for the whole year. I phoned to ask why. The agent explained that the increase was due to my having reached diamond anniversary age last December.
Let's focus on that development, and not, as I am sorely tempted, to describe the highway robbery to which my dear friends at GEICO have subjected this, in their own words, "preferred customer" for the past nineteen years. To put the matter succinctly, they have been charging me twice as much as any other auto insurance company I could find on the Internet. So much for that green critter on billboards and TV telling you how much he loves to save you money.
But let me dwell on the insult visited on this seventy-five year old.
I thought seniors got discounts. Dunkin' Donuts gives me one without my asking. But it would take me 1000 visits a year for coffee and donuts to make up for the extra money GEICO would charge me for having reached three score and fifteen.
Early bird senior specials at local restaurants might assuage my bruised ego; but who can tolerate a meal at 5 PM surrounded by a crowd of gray hairs? Same goes for discount day at the local supermarket where the aisles are impassable for the clutter of carts and canes belonging to people of vintages similar to mine.
Anyway, I still feel insulted when on a bus or subway a more youthful body rises from her seat and offers it to me.
The other evening at the dinner table the conversation turned to the arc of our lives, how we go from one stretch of dependency to another with, hopefully, a long stretch of independence in the middle. Apparently, GEICO has determined that I am presently emerging from that "long stretch" and am on my way back to diapers. At least at this end of life I'll not suffer the indignity of sub-25 year old males, especially those with bright red Mustangs, whose auto premiums break the bank. But what happens when I reach four score years? Another increase?
Sad to relate, but GEICO is not alone in this downgrading of my vitality. The fellow on the elliptical exerciser next to my recumbent stationary bike in the exercise room regularly asks me if I'm OK when I pause in my pedaling to catch my breath. Twice he has expressed his concern that I looked as if I was about to die. And when the next door neighbor found me shoveling snow, he insisted that I slow down while he finished the job for me. But he's the one who has had a hernia operation, not me.
Getting old takes some getting used to. Fortunately or otherwise, lots of people are ready to remind you that you are not what you once were, full of "vim and vinegar." But when your auto insurance company increases your premium, why that's the final nail in the coffin.
I'd show them if my wife would let me. I'd go out and buy a Harley tomorrow, don my first pair of Levi's ever, put on a leather jacket and a helmet, and show the world what a seventy-five year old can do. Instead, I'll probably just take a seat in my recliner, pour myself a cup of hot tea, and let the dog curl up at my feet.