2004-11-18 @ 9:32 a.m.
Hanging out with old people can be a humbling experience.
...and a smelly one.....but mostly humbling.
Last night I had the fortunate experience of volunteering to 'babysit' a nearby community meeting that was taken place in our building. You see, my office is very unique in its design, and can hold quite a few people, being that it is, basically, a renovated warehouse.
I would hear some odd conversations while I sat at my desk secretly eavesdropping:
"I'm gonna be 83 next week. My wife and I have been married for 62 years."
"Well, I'm gonna be 82 in a few months, and I dont feel any different from when I was 30."
..note to self don't live past 29...
These folks are interesting to say the least. Old and weird to say the most. They mumble arbitrary facts about themselves and apparently carry random pictures with them at all times, *just in case* someone might ask how their great-grandkids are doing, or how their car is running. Which seems to be the topic of most of their conversations. However usually no one asks them, they tend to just bring it up themselves.
I saw one gentleman show the same pictures to everyone in the meeting. During the pre-meeting chit-chat he proceeded to make his rounds with his three little polaroid pictures that define his current life. "This here is my house. I paid more money for my car last year then I did this house I bought 46 years ago. Here's a picture of it, I just painted it. That there is school bus yella."
"My, George, someone might walk by your house and think they are about to be rundown by a bus!"
Yes, Gra'ma, because people walk by houses and mistake them for automobiles. And because of their slight resemblance in color to a school bus, they feel like they are about to be run over. Happens to me all the time.
Now I have nothing against these people. I adore them, actually. I remember my mother always having a sort of likening toward the elderly. I never understood why. They always smelled like denture paste, burnt hair and cookies to me. Well, maybe not cookies. But that would be cool if they did, wouldn't it?
I think that not only do you lose your hearing and sight as you get older, but your other senses as well. You douse yourself in perfume and cologne, yell all the time and tend not to eat as much because it doesn't 'taste as good when I was a kid'. Actually, it does, but you lost half of your tastebuds during the second world war, Pops.
But mostly, they are just sweet. Not like 'chocolate-chip-cookie' sweet but like 'I'm gonna squeeze your cheeks and tell you how young you are'- sweet. Can you tell I'm hankering for some cookies, by the way?
They all seemed very grateful for my willingness to stay late, and offered me free old-people-candy. Which were werther's originals or button candy or something. I finally kicked them out at 9:30 because I wanted to go home!
But as a whole, it wasn't too bad and I got to meet a few people that live in the area and learn about various paint colors and prices during the Civil War.
Oh and watch out for house-shaped-school-buses, there seems to be an epidemic around here.