There are always three security guards in my lobby, one to operate the x-ray machine and metal detector, one to sit behind a desk and deal with clearing visitors while monitoring surveillance and one who stands between two of those retractable black ribbons which stretch between the tops of two posts, the kind you find at the bank, to help keep the line orderly. In this case, there is a cordoned-off area on either side of him. If you want to move towards the elevators, you have to wait, allow your badge to be scanned and then he’ll step aside and you can pass.
There is a rotating staff of about a dozen of these guards and one has gradually taken more of an interest in checking if I’m “okay”, mostly because of my ankle. He’s tall and charismatic, with more salt than pepper in his hair, but that’s the only indicator of his age. This is the guard who observes how I’m walking and once a week, he lets me know if he’s seen progress, i.e. “You’re barely limping now!” He was also the only person whom I didn’t know personally who was high-fiving me when my cast came off. Obviously, he makes arriving at work a fun process. Today…
Security Guard: What’s up. What’s crackin’. How are you?
Me: I’m well! Thank you for asking.
Security Guard: You look nice today. I like the pearls.
Me: Aww, thanks Marcus.
Security Guard (looking me up and down, still holding my badge and not scanning it): You got a date or something later?
Me: Nope. It’s my birthday.
Security Guard: Really? Happy Birthday. How old are you?
Me: I’m 33!
Security Guard (handing badge back): Like hell you are. You ain’t no 33.
Me (walking away): I AM.
Security Guard: You look 22.
Me (whirling around): That’s what my cab driver said this morning! Maybe it’s the headband.
Security Guard: Nah. You got one them baby faces. No way I would guess you’re over 25.
Me (turning corner, looking back): Well, black don’t crack, you know?
Security Guard: !!!
Random Woman waiting for scanning, tossing her hair and preening: I know that's right.
Thank you ancestors with good genes, Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream SPF 15 (since my late 20s!) and generous, benevolent deity above. I pray 33 is as lucky as it apparently looks. :)