As someone who revels in his own irrelevancy, I have found liberation in no longer caring how I seem to anyone else. Thatís why, when I went to get a haircut yesterday and the salonista kept asking me if I was sure I wanted that much off, I kept reassuring her, with a smile, that no matter how short she cut it, I wouldnít complain that it was too much. In the end, though, I let her have her way. She left it a little longer than I usually have it cut. But I didnít care, because after all, what difference does it make, to me or to anyone?
In that tell-all spirit, I feel okay revealing that Iíve lost my ability to keep numbers in the right order. That could be a disadvantage to a person who makes a living by counting dollars and cents. Last week my developing mathlexia cost me precious hours, as I submitted the Kennelís entire roster of W-2 forms electronically, then (as soon as Iíd clicked Send! And Yes, Iím Sure!) realized that Iíd transposed two digits on the companyís federal tax ID.
At first, I panicked. Then I simply entered reversing entries for all the incorrect forms (which might not have made it all the way to the government anyway, since the ID number I used probably doesnít even exist). After that, I resubmitted, double checking all the numbers (ALL the numbers). After that, I exhaled. It had only cost me three times as much work to do what should have been a simple task. The way I work these days, thatís par for the course.
Oh, it is so much easier being old and befuddled than it ever was being young and ... well, befuddled, I guess. I never progressed much in my understanding of how social conventions keep people from crashing into each other at random speeds and angles. Iíve done a decent job of being myself, which has allowed me to keep people who wouldnít like that person at bay. Itís a fairly small sampling of humanity that finds its way into my corner of the planet, but at least itís a mostly decent and generous group. Tolerant, too, probably more than they really need to be.