Monday, July 25, 2011

Mystery Solved?

Beware.
I may have solved a mystery.

I spent a lot of time with my fabulous Grandmother recently and I just have to admit it: she's aged a lot in the past two years since I last saw her.

But I don't want to admit it.

After visiting her for a few days, on the trek home I saw four old men sitting together in a Tim Horton's. One seemed animated, the others a little bored. They were wearing matching clothing. By "matching" I mean the typical old guy uniform: plaid shirts, baggy old man pants, socks and galoshes.

Old people fascinate me; I kinda love them. Always have. My Grandma is one of my absolute favourite people and she just celebrated 88. Well, celebrated might be a misnomer. It's more like she ate her cake, cracked a joke and that was enough of that fuss. She's just totally over herself. We also spent time with my wife's Grandmother who has early Alzheimer's. She scrutinized me like she might any "stranger," but then she stepped forward, made eye contact, smiled coquettishly, rubbed my face and offered me a cookie. Both these old ladies make me pay attention to what I have and what I haven't. And that's how I think I may have solved this mystery: at what point exactly does one become old?

Remember counting birthdays? Pining for adulthood. I couldn't wait to be a man. And then I was. And then I got married and had kids and suddenly I was 32. And I couldn't even remember how old I was. And then this happened at a cousin's wedding: I ventured outside with a drink where a group of young people had gathered to share stories and so I shared a story too and everyone laughed and then some drunk kid in his early twenties said, "Hey who's the old guy?" They all looked at me. Confused, I turned around to look for the old guy too and that made them laugh again. I'd like to say it was a minor epiphany but what that little prick said stung a bit. I was the old guy?! At 32?

Thirty is not old. Nor is 40. Ditto 50. Even 60. It's not just the number. I'm sure now it's something else.

After observing those old men interacting, drinking their tea, their legs crossed, socks pulled up, galoshes dangling, I think I might know the point, the juncture, the very minute when one becomes old: it's when you stop wearing flip flops.

Think about it.

My Grandma insisted she didn't want anything for her birthday. She says she has everything she'd ever want plus a cane and a walker and one leg shorter than the other. If wish I could see her face when she opens my birthday package and discovers pink flip flops. I'd say that's instant youth.

19 comments:

Oilfield Trash said...

I really enjoyed this post.

Laoch of Chicago said...

Thoughtful post although I think you should have added a cookie to the birthday package.

Teachinfourth said...

This is a FANTASTIC post...and one that made me think. I never feel as old as I really am. Sometimes, I don't think I'm much older than the fifth graders I teach.

Munk said...

Beautiful.

Pickleope said...

I love the observation that you're old when you stop wearing flip flops. Great post.

Roxanne and Lorraine said...

"She's just totally over herself."

That made me giggle for some reason. Old people always make me sad but this made me smile. It's a good thing I live in a hot-as-balls place. I'm going to be young for a lot longer than most people.

Is this why retirees move to Florida?

Lorraine

Windsmoke. said...

You are only as old as you feel but if you think old you will become old and die young :-).

karensomethingorother said...

there is more than a little truth that when you succumb to OLD in dress and manner, you become old. I'm keeping my flip flops.

Dr. Cynicism said...

Haha... or how about when you stop giving a shit about how you dress in public?

Elly Lou said...

Shit. I just out-swelled my flip-flops. I'm old.

Vinny C said...

Nice! Very thought provoking.

That same "old" feeling hit me the first time some girl in school uniform looking for donations called me "sir". Sir!?! Me? But... I was so young...

dbs said...

Thanks grinputters. You help a sick guy feel better.

Chicken said...

I'm sure someone has said it, but you are as young as you feel. The problem is sometimes you feel ten and then you walk by a store window and catch a glimpse of your reflection and...well...that can me traumatic. But otherwise, it is all good. And relative. I'm sure someone said that, too. BTW, I'd love one of those cinammon rolls-they look awesome. At first I said to myself, "Oh, DBS is growing some bacteria and showing us a photo, eewwww DBS" and then I saw the caption and suddenly my perception completely changed. Sort of like your age question, once again.

Mrs4444 said...

DBS, this is brilliant. I LOL'd and shared it with the family (who also got a good chuckle). I absolutely loved it and am going to link it to my Saturday Sampling post this week. Thanks.

lisleman said...

I browsed over via Mrs. 4444. Flip flops wearing is the key then. I thought it was when you look in mirror one morning and think you just saw your dad (or mom for the other gender).

Amy said...

Visiting from Mrs. 4444s. Love this post. Would you be willing to let me re-post it at www.all-things-aging.com?

dbs said...

@Amy Sure. Sounds great. Thanks.

Laurie Matherne said...

I love old people too. My aunt recently celebrated her 96 birthday. She's sharp as a tack. She noted that I was getting fat, but quickly corrected herself, noting that her eyeglasses made everyone appear large. Ha! I am fat. And she's a great aunt.

Life with Kaishon said...

Old people are my favorite. My absolute favorite. I love the sweet ones and the grumpy ones. I love the chubby ones and the frail ones. I love them all! SO glad Mrs. 444 linked this post up. totally awesome! Happy Birthday to your Gram.

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