I was waiting for da bus the other day when an older lady sat next to me. My weakness: old people. They smile, I get verklempt. They speak, I get verklempt, they sit in a restaurant alone, I can’t handle it. It’s just my thing. I imagine the worst: she just lost her husband, she can’t find her way back home, she’s not wearing her wedding ring…uh oh, I want to give her a hug and shout at the top of my lungs, “WILL SOMEONE HELP THIS LADY, SHE’S LOST”!!! Good thing I don’t.
The older lady chatted about the ugly condo in mid construction across the street. I complained how the bus was taking so **F&*KING long. She mentioned how different the city has changed, “the condos are blocking our beautiful scenery”, “London Drugs used to be my home” (not literally) but on the main street. I soon forgot about the bus and was far more interested in her tales.
Our dialogue went something like this;
ME: It will be interesting to see what the city will look like in 5 years.
LADY: (smiling) I don’t think I’ll be here.
ME: (what I wanted to say): “where are you going?”
LADY: (what I actually said): oh you’ll be here….you young whippersnapper”…you….
I trail off. She smiles and continues to strut her way onto the bus that finally arrives. As I stood behind her a few heads taller, foot still in my mouth, I couldn’t help but smile at her jovial demeanor.
She struck a chord in me when she said, “I don’t think I’ll be here”. I started fast forwarding to where I want or think I should be in 5 years. Questions swarmed in my head, “What if I’m not here?”, “Who will get all of my shoes?”, “I better hide my diaries!” and so on and so forth, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah, boom. I quickly shook off the nonsensical rumbles of chatter in my elaborate imagination. My nona lived to be 105, my grandfather is 89, I figure if I keep eating my greens and Nutella I’d like to hit 100. And if I end up in a retirement home, I’ll be the little old lady busting out costumes from her tickle trunk and putting on shows for the staff. Yup. That sounds great!!!! Or, convert the tuck shop into a kissing booth, $1.00 a kiss. Or 3 for $5.00. I would make millions for my grandchildren!!!!
So, after convincing myself that aging gracefully and with spunk is a fabulous option, I let out a breathe of air. I reminded myself to enjoy every moment, savour those conversations with loved ones, and learn from your elders. Maybe that afternoon I was the one with the geriatric moment and not my new friend.
A homage to women of all ages. I am a huge fan of Socialite Alice Apfel. She is amongst my all time favourite women. Her eccentric style and persona is what makes this 95 year old stand out. She’s been quoted as saying, ‘I’m a geriatric starlet. Her exuberant outfits and flying-saucer glasses have turned her into a style icon. BE YOU at any age. I have a feeling we’d get along just fine. – CS xx