Thursday, September 9, 2010
stuff old people like
What is really scary is I just woke up and realized that at 62 years of age. I am old. What form did this revelation take? There is always an incident that drives it home. In my case there were two tip offs. The first occurred last year. I was going to a wedding and I hobbled into the TV room teetering on one high heel and one flat shoe and asked my three grown (or so they say) sons who were watching the video 'Jackass' ( That's how grown up they really are) which shoe looked better with my suit. One son said in a totally matter-of-fact tone, 'Mom wear what's comfortable. You're old. No one is looking." The other two nodded in agreement. I staggered out of the room into the dreaded daylight. He was only trying to say 'why not be comfortable.' My husband said 'I have no idea why you are upset-- didn't you know you were old?'
The next event that sealed my identity as an old person happened just last week. We are restoring a farm house and I gave all of the carpenters coffee and then went upstairs. Walking past the heating grate I heard one of them say, "I bet she was a looker." Key word was. I hoped for some dissension in the group; however, the others agreed. I only wished I'd put some arsenic,( or instant coffee) in their cups. Again my husband said he thought that was a compliment. Clearly men don't mind getting old. After all, they are respected for what they achieve. As they get older they achieve more. Women are valued for how they look. As they get older they look worse (if youth is the measure of true beauty.) Joni Mitchell said it best in her song Raised on Robbery when she says the woman is 'sitting on her groceries'.
I've had my mourning period. It's over. Middle age is over. 'Tall', 'blond', 'thin' and 'athletic' are no longer in anyone's lexicon when discussing me. Yet, I have an annoying habit of tying to find the up side in a situation.( my friends hate this about me.) Well there are several advantages to old age and I am enjoying them all. I no longer have to wear high heels, run for lipstick when someone arrives at my farm, or dress to go to the store. It is actually quite freeing once you realize and accept that you are no more interesting than wallpaper. Invisibility has its positives. I can be a closet sociologist. I can simply analyze the way old people behave in our world. The stuff they like is a reflection of who they have become and that is a reflection of how they are treated. I wonder if old Japanese people would like the same 'Stuff' since they are revered in Japan and in North America they are a symbol of what you do not want to become. That's why no one looks at you. They fear getting old like you.
Oddly enough this is the best time of my life. The kids are grown and no longer tell me how un-amusing I am. They never married so I don't have to have grandchildren and take them to smelly swimming classes. I can come and go as I please with my husband, who by the way, is also old. I was a psychologist for 25 years in private practice and now I am retired from that and can write what I want when I want. I have no more clocks or obligations.
I've decided to write a blog on Stuff what old people like. I hope to add a new thing every time an item or idea hits me. I'm aiming for one two a week. So if you're old stay tuned. If your young you can tune in to this crystal ball.
The first thing old people like is plastic surgery, particularly face lifts. I just got back from Buenos Aires where even the women in Burger King have bandages on their heads. A compliment in my forties used to be a woman saying, "You look great" or "You look rested." Now the ultimate compliment is "Have you had work done?" That means you look good enough to have had plastic surgery. The best kind is of course the 'work' that cannot be detected by the naked eye. You are supposed to be flattered and respond, "No, not yet."
I like this photo of Faye Dunaway above. Now there is a face lift that must have been done with a fork lift. I think most of her skin is folded in that hat she's wearing.