I am going to be such a troublesome grandma - Tactical Ninja
Nov. 30th, 2011
10:25 am - I am going to be such a troublesome grandma
A couple of months ago my walk to work involved traipsing around the waterfront, where I would observe the various goings-on in the harbour, Frank Kitts Park and the events centre. Now, I walk down Cuba Mall, along Dixon and Courtenay, and through Courtenay Central (mall thing with food court) to get to my place of work. Differences I've noticed are that I see who's begging in Cuba Mall today, I smell a lot more bacon cooking, and get accosted by less folks selling stuff/handing out samples/collecting for charity*. Also, now I walk through Courtenay Central daily, I notice their music. They seem to have the Reader's Digest Golden Hits Of The 80s Box Set and play it on random all day every day. This morning it was Love of the Common People by Paul Young. It.. sets a certain tone for my day. Also, I am really glad that Madonna had voice lessons some time in the 80s because Holiday is painful to the ears. Just saying.
* Train station crowds are a captive audience and there's a daily gauntlet of Folks Trying To Separate You From Your Money to get through. You have to choose who to stop for or give to, and what ends up happening is that you develop a hard shell and ignore all of them regardless of how worthy you think their cause is, because otherwise you'd never get to work or home with your wallet intact.
I'm 41. Given advances in technology, lifestyle and the like, it's likely that I'm not yet half way through my expected lifespan. However, I was born in a time when 41 would have been more than half my expected lifespan (how cool is that? I love living in the future!), and since people are still evolving and evolution happens slowly, 41 is still considered to be getting on a bit, or at least middle aged. I'm actually wondering how long this'll take to change when the average expected lifespan gets up to around 120. But I digress.
So I'm 41 and debatably middle aged. My hair is greying and my face is getting more lines on it. My body's pretty much the same as it always was because I'm kind of physically active - if anything I'm more muscular than I was in my 20s and have more stamina and hey, I'm not complaining. My skin isn't as resilient as it once was - it crinkles more and folds less. *shrug* Since I'm living in it and these changes happen slowly, it's not really a big deal although sometimes when I look in the mirror I go "Holy fuck you look about 90" but I think everyone does that eh?
However, my age is showing and in our society that signals the beginning of invisibility. Probably not so much for men but for women, who sadly are still valued in a large part on our youth and looks, getting older is one of those things that causes attention to pass over you. As a person gets older, this gradual sliding of attention becomes almost complete and people do become invisible - witness the way in which the elderly are not in the media, and observe where your own gaze goes as you walk down the street. It seems the only time society as a whole cares what's up with older people is when it's election time, because old people vote.
It's generally considered to be a bad thing, this invisibility. "Oh noes! How awful to not be noticed and given attention! It must be terrible to be old, to not be part of things!"
I reckon this is probably bollocks and here's why. Being old is considered to be a bad thing from the perspective of the young, who have no fucking clue what it's like to be old. Being invisible is likewise considered to be a bad thing by people who are accustomed to being highly visible. Being old is considered to be boring and limiting and a whole bunch of other things by people who are not old. We are told it's bad from day one, but we don't get to find out till we get there, by which time the world's taken its eye off you so they don't actually witness what's happening.
However, consider that in a democracy, governments know that old people vote, which means that they (our one anyway) tend to ensure that older people are cared for. Consider the Gold Card - why do you think retirees on superannuation (which is more than unemployment) need free bus rides more than an unemployed person does? Really? I'm not saying that Gold Cards shouldn't exist, but they are a good example of the way in which governments ensure their most consistent voting pool doesn't get too upset, eh? Which is, while not a guarantee, an assurance of sorts that being old is Not So Bad Ackshully, care-by-society wise.
So there's that, and in terms of visibility, I'm already starting to enjoy the benefits of not being policed. I can wear unfashionable clothing, go without makeup, dress for comfort, and behave more freely* without the censure I would have got for it in my 20s. These days I mostly don't get catcalled - whether it's because I'm 'too old' or because I'm 'too confident' I don't know, but since both of these are products of age I'll take it. These days, if a random male stranger listens to what I'm saying, I can be pretty sure it's because he respects my brain instead of only listening because he wants to fuck me** - the flow on effect of this is that I have better conversations and fight off less octopi.
So if the world is turning its gaze away from me and ceasing to police my behaviour already, by the time I'm 60 I figure I'll be pretty much invisible. Advances in technology and my lifestyle suggest that I'm likely to be active and fit at 60 - I have no reason to think I'll be limited by my body at that age. So you know what I'm going to do?
Any fucking thing I want. You see, all the old people I actually know seem to enjoy not being in the spotlight. They have lives that are full and complete and they don't need the acknowledgement of the young in order to know that. And they can get away with things. So when I'm 60 I'm going to celebrate my birthday by doing acid with my elderly friends. We will probably go out in public at some point and I reckon nobody will even notice.
So next time you see someone who's old, don't feel sorry for them. Have a think about what they might be doing and getting away with that you can't, because they are invisible.
*NB I've always been a bit like this anyway, but I used to get a much harder time for it. Partly I know that's the circles I move in, but I'm talking about social censure from the general public here.
** I'm aware there are folks out there that want to fuck me, yes. I am not a Hideous Bush Pig just because I have a few wrinkles - I know this. But still, this part is easier than when I was younger. Fact.
Last night I cleaned mould off my bathroom ceiling. Not a lot, but enough to make me go " ... " There is an extractor fan but it's positioned over the toilet and its distance from the vent in the bathroom renders it rather ineffective. I think there needs to be another one, directly over the bathroom, as well. This can't be that hard - there's a crawl space that you enter from the toilet room, I guess I could climb up and have a look. I'm a little afraid of what I might find though.
I am enjoying reading the answers to yesterday's questions. Thank you to those who asked for them. Also, I'm putting this here for easy reference for myself. I'm told it's not safe for work, and since it's billed as the type of porn that Victorian-era folk consumed when it began to be produced on industrial scale, I'm gonna take their word for it and wait till I get home. Don't ask.