Rant of the Aged

I guess this would be rant number two as I've only actually posted one other. I write some things that I don't post. You should be grateful for that. The first rant was about weather forecasting; this is about aging, or more specifically how we respond to others who are aging, and that includes everybody because nobody is getting younger.

I'm 62. I've been noticing things change in the past couple of years. The changes that come with age aren't much fun but they're expected and we all learn to cope. It's just life. What I didn't expect was the change in the way people talk to me, or react to things I say. It was funny at first, but now it's downright irritating.

If I tell a story about some dumb thing I did, or something I forgot to do, it doesn't get laughs anymore. Like everyone else, I used to tell my friends about silly mistakes I'd made and we would all have a good laugh. It's good to be able to laugh at yourself. Then one day I told a story about something ridiculous I'd done, and instead of laughs, I got sympathy and "aww" and "poor you" looks. What happened? I used to forget things when I was in my twenties and thirties and it was funny. If I forget the same thing now, why is it sad?

And apparently I'm supposed to have become a prude. I've always found attractive men attractive. If I commented on a particularly hot guy in a movie, the women around me would enthusiastically agree with me. Now the same comment gets confused looks like people aren't sure I could really mean it. At what age was I supposed to stop appreciating a muscled torso?

I was in Walmart looking for white paper doilies for a craft I was doing for Christmas. The clerk I talked to looked at me with profound pity and told me gently that you see, dear, you can't buy those old fashioned things anymore because nobody has made them for years. So I left Walmart and bought them at the dollar store. If you don't have something, say so, but do try not to imply that I'm old and stupid, or even worse that I'm stupid because I'm old.

Same thing goes for the guy who was here the other day setting up my new internet service. He unplugged my router and pushed it aside and when I asked him about my home network he was at a loss for words. Finally he said "You have your own network here?" I said yes, that I needed to be able to access the files on the desktop from my laptop in the other room, so he hooked my router up again and said how surprised he was to find "that much of a system" here. Really? Because this is Computer Illiterate Street or because I'm older and everybody knows our brain cells leave with our hair colour?

Anyone of any age will tell you that they are still the same person they always were. Hopefully we've gained a little wisdom along the way, but essentially you are the same person inside your 40, 50, 60 and 70 year old head that you were when you were 30. My hair is gray and my body won't do half of what I tell it to do, but don't talk to my hair, talk to the me that's still in there. And don't assume it's incapable of intelligent thought.

There must be a set of rules for aging that I've never read because I'm seeing things I didn't notice before. Things like a lot of older women not wearing jeans. And surprise on people's faces over my book choices. And my music choices. And my tv show choices. I feel like I'm breaking the rules of Expectation For Aging Women if I read Stephen Hawking, listen to Pink, or watch Sci-Fi. Who decides what old people are supposed to like?

I've thought about it, and have decided to keep breaking the rules. And wearing jeans. And thinking men are attractive. I am still the same me, not some old person who suddenly came into existence on my 60th birthday.

And one day soon, I'm going to tell that condescending clerk at a certain store who talks to me slowly, with drippy sweetness, and calls me dear or sweetie, that dear would like her to shove her condescension right up where the sun don't shine. Sweetie.

End of rant.  


Judith said...

Dear Kindred Spirit!
I so, so deeply resonated with your sentiments and examples in this post!
Sigh. It's these "old lady" stereotypes. I'm noticing them everywhere. When I am treated in a demeaning way, like a demented senior woman, I could scream, but I don't do that until later, because my first reaction is to be baffled. I'm 60.5 years old. Thank you for writing!
I do know this--I was feisty before, but I'm getting feistier.
Judith (Reader in the Wilderness)

Ordinary Reader said...

Judith - Here's to feistiness! I'm all for aging gracefully, but I refuse to play dead until I actually am. Thanks for stopping by and commiserating!

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