Friday, October 28, 2005

I don't feel very different, he said, I know it's strange

One of the things I like about my work is the occasion to listen to old folks. Yeah, I know, old folks are just you and me after we've been around longer. They can be assholes just like we can. They grew up in a different time, though, and they've learned lessons we've yet to grasp. One thing I like is, as a rule, the geriatric set don't think they are so busy. Gah, I get tired of people who only talk about how busy they are. This is life, folks. You own it. Prioritize. Run it. Don't let it run you. How annoying am I when I get preachy? Second great thing is old people don't think they're the center of everything. Kids then weren't raised under the mistaken impression that they and their every thought were so very fascinating. That generation talks, but they listen. P.S., listening is not just pausing until you get to say something again. I know there are those who feel I demand attention (Andrew), but I could listen all day to someone who knows how to tell a good story. My dear departed grandmother was that way. She had some great stories. She wasn't quick to tell them, but I knew how to get her going. God, I loved her something fierce. I'm talking about the tiny, sweet but tough Grandma. Not the portly, crabby one. She's still around. She actually does think the world revolves around her. Kinda blows my whole theory actually. Anyway, USA Today has a week long series on longevity and they've been interviewing people who are 100+ y.o. The old dude in the picture above had this to say about life: "I believe if you wake up, if you stand up, if you look around and know who you are and where you are, that's a good day." Is it that simple, folks?


wingedman said...

I know what you mean! In my line of work I have to fly with lots of older guys too, though perhaps nobody above 60, but yeah, they're just like you and me, just...older. Some are shitty and some are sweet, but it's fascinating to isten and be listened to just as if we were one of them.

Of course them dirty old men do make a lot of inappropriate comments about the stewardesses, at which point I laugh nervously.

luscious loulou said...

"I believe if you wake up, if you stand up, if you look around and know who you are and where you are, that's a good day."

I have a similar morning "prayer" and health is always first. That along with the thanks for the ability for a fresh new life, and a fresh new chance each and every day. Welcome the new day and take a deep cleansing breath and then I move my body in some way or another. :D


luscious loulou said...

Old people talk to me about sex. I don't know what kind of pherome I'm giving off, but there you go. Maybe they see my twinkle?

It's always kind of a joy to hear, actually. I've got a "two doors down" neighbour of 76yrs who mentioned the other day (he's offering to cut down my apple tree for me, awwwww) that he divorced his first wife cuz she didn't like sex. And this one does? Yes, he said. Very much. Oh, well that's just great, I said.

And whilst working at a Senior's Activity Centre as Project Manager one summer, I remember a couple of interesting sessions just full of sex stories. You know, I wonder if they all wait to find someone who will listen and maybe not judge? Or just wanted to see me blush? Funny.

Well I'm going to be like that. But only the great stuff and with lots of laughter, gesticulating and semi-swooning just to keep the attention of the crowd.


savante said...

Geriatrics? Are you talking about me, boy? :)


Xtine said...

awe old people are strangly sweet. and if you live past 100 it has to be more than just good genes.

Michael said...

wingedman, I had to laugh at "perhaps nobody above 60". Shit. I have friends that old! You speak the truth, though. I also notice this sense of relief from older folks when you play with them and talk dirty and joke around. They don't get that often, I think.

loulou, LOVING your morning ritual. Again, cuz, we homies. I've taken to do some morning yoga, just 15 minutes or so, but I'm getting so much bang for my buck. Get in touch with my body, focus on the breathing, touch the earth. Oh, fuck all you for smirking. It feels so good! Also, not that it's all about showtunes (just mostly about them), but Linda Eder does A New Life on her Broadway, My Way CD that mirrors your mantra. It's from a bad show, but it's a good song. Want it? I get the same thing with old people and sex. At some point, as we age, I think people must start treating us with a certain reserve that is isolating. When you break through that, folks diggin' ya.

And yes, dear Paul, though on the cusp of senility, you are still sharp enough to understand when I'm obliquely referencing you. ;-)
{{infirm bitch}}

xtine, many of them/us are sweet, but don't forget my only living grandparent. She's a hairy-chinned know-it-all with delusions of grandeur.

luscious loulou said...

Yes. I want it. What shall I do?

Is this getting sick or what, Michael? Yoga while still in bed and then I do my prayers to the sky & the trees during our walk and and then run or pilates. Sounds spiritual. Wow! But it's just what I've always done.

Rodney Yee started me off with "AM Yoga"? I think it was, but I mostly do my own. It's stretching and grounding and something I've done for so long I probably couldn't do without it. All of it, actually.

Hey, my "hairy-chinned nana" finally kicked it at 94, in the bath. I try to only remember her "good points" and talk to her some mornings in fact and thank her for my dad and hope they're enjoying the surf. :P What?

I look at her life as a cautionary tale. Bitter cow.


Bodhi said...

Old people can be pretty cool, Mikey, and you got me thinking about my grandparents ..

All three of my grandparents (my Mum's dad died by accident when she was only 6) were absolute sweethearts. Its only been in the last fews years that I have lost them.

My Dad's parents both lived till there late 80's, and they died within months of each other. They had six kids and worked on a dairy farm all their life till they retired at 60 (and until then, had never had a holiday). They remained happily married for over 65 years! Forever laughing and joking with each other, and showing affection like they were newlyweds. They were both very active right up till near the end.

My mums mother worked hard most of her life to bring up her brood of 6 kids by herself after her husband died. She worked as a cook at a local pub in her younger years. She was as sweet as her apple pies, and almost nothing could stop her. Until the last few years when she was in a nursing home, she too was very active. Only a few years earlier she used to go visit the "old dears" as she called them at that local nursing home to play cards with them each week. At that stage she was already nearing 90, and was older than many of them. She died peacefully in her sleep at 95.

I loved them to bits, how I miss 'em. With some of my cousins, I was officebearer at all three funerals. The casket was nothing, the weight on my heart another thing altogether ...

Aside from many happy memories, one that strangely remains etched in my mind was when they all came to see me in intensive care after a suicide attempt at 21. Unlike my other visotors, they said very little. They smiled, gave me the biggest hug, and sat by my bedside for hours just being with me. I can remember both of my grandmothers lovingly stroking my hand. They didn't really need to say anything. As incredibly difficult as that must have been for them, I could see it in their eyes and their unconditional acceptance. Now thats love people.

S**t, Mikey, are you on an intentional mission to make me tear up of late? Damn you.

Anyhoo ...

So, its seems it in my genes that I will probably live to a ripe old age. Better get used to me people, I may be here a while yet!


Bodhi said...


I meant Pallbearer, obviously. See what you did to me, Mikey?


Michael said...

loulou, showtunes will be sent to you. How else will you know how to join me when I spontaneously burst into song?

Damn, bodhi, you're proving to be such a sweet, sweet man. Thanks for sharing that story. I lost my grandfathers when I was very young and my one remaining grandmother is quite the piece of work. You're fortunate to have had some wonderful folks for so long. I did have a wonderful time and a big love for my mom's mother, though. The lady was a saint. She was always around, through my childhood. For some reason, even as a kid, I told her everything and we had a special bond. Losing her was the first time I've ever felt, "Wait, you mean life just keeps going on?" I didn't want to work or do anything that seemed to accept that. I know what you mean about feeling the unconditional lovin'.