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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

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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.

Comments:

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From:tatjna
Date:November 29th, 2011 09:50 pm (UTC)
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The best ones are tight enough to cut off blood supply and require lubricant to get them over your ankles, while also being loose enough around the waist to fall below the level at which any kind of fart will affect them.

Trufax: there was a dude skating at the Xgames once who had his pants sewn onto his boxers so they would show the right amount of undie without falling down.

Anyway, I was using grandma figuratively, and have no intention of ever actually becoming one. Thus, you should probably start extolling the virtues of having children* to my offspring this week.

* He might not believe you, since despite stereotypes of teenagers he's not actually stupid.
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From:vernacularity
Date:November 29th, 2011 10:02 pm (UTC)
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the pants of this generation are nothing like the pants of my generation! how dare they!

Down with pants!
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From:tatjna
Date:November 29th, 2011 10:50 pm (UTC)
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Get off my lawn you crotchety old fucker.

(hells i am going to enjoy being old!)
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From:tatjna
Date:November 29th, 2011 11:15 pm (UTC)
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If you actually do turn into a bowl-player that comments on other people's lawns when you're old, we will have to stage an intervention.

You wouldn't like me when I'm intervening.
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From:tatjna
Date:November 30th, 2011 12:38 am (UTC)
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I think all of your neighbours have opted out of having a lawn at all, in favour of vertical cliff faces rock features.
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From:anna_en_route
Date:November 29th, 2011 10:02 pm (UTC)
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I'm not sure if you brought up this poem before but I'll steal any chance to post it because I adore its spirit (even if I'm a little bewildered by the group it inspired).

"Warning

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.


Jenny Joseph "
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From:pombagira
Date:November 29th, 2011 10:43 pm (UTC)
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this poem is why i made a pair of purple overalls, with garlishly bright pockets..

*grins*

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From:tatjna
Date:November 30th, 2011 12:38 am (UTC)
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Which group did it inspire?
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From:anna_en_route
Date:November 30th, 2011 03:27 am (UTC)
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This group here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Hat_Society

I am 100% behind the idea of women over 50 banding together with common interests, it's just that the poem is such a huge call for non-conformity and rule-breaking and the red hat society seems so...organised....

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From:tatjna
Date:November 30th, 2011 03:34 am (UTC)
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I think we should crash one of their parties wearing orange hats and green dresses.
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From:anna_en_route
Date:November 30th, 2011 03:38 am (UTC)
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Hush! You'll anger their queens
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From:bekitty
Date:December 2nd, 2011 08:07 am (UTC)
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A friend of mine in Tennessee, Barbara McKendry, was a member of the Red Hat Society. When she died of cancer, they came to her funeral en masse and one of them read that poem out. It totally suited her.
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From:friggasmuse
Date:November 29th, 2011 10:34 pm (UTC)
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I love Victorian era smut!
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From:vernacularity
Date:November 30th, 2011 03:20 am (UTC)
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I also enjoy increasing semi-invisibility, i mean as someone who would look ridiculous in Youth Fashion I can wear pretty much what I like, and not be beset with a sense of failing to keep up with style. I thnk a huge part of it also is not giving a shit any more whether people think I am cool enough. There are some places where invisibility is taken too far and becomes rudeness, eg certain bars, but I'm kinda over them anyway, and the thing is I find more Random Ladeez(tm) smiling and talking to me in lifts and stuff the more I just wear something that looks vaguely tidy but isn't a suit, and definitely not a t-shirt with some sort of trendy single-word internet brand on it. (When you're sorta pot-bellied but skinny everywhere else, a t-shirt really isn't the most fetching).

I find it so much easier to get things done round town also.

Ok, I do very much dislike that thing where you can;t just wear whatever you want without being judged, if I could I'd be going into hardware stores in my red-ruffle pants, and going into bars in my work-stained weekend clothes, but the unfortunate reality is that life is a whole lot easier when there is less friction on interactions, and in the end the prupose of why I' there is to get something done, so it's stupid to obsess about what I'm wearing during mundane transactonal activities. Sometimes just cruising around being polite in shops and getting where I want to go without stress is the best way to make a good impression in any case.

Also, there's far too many mid-forties guys around this town still trying to look 30.

Inconspicuity - the new rebellion.

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From:vernacularity
Date:November 30th, 2011 04:15 am (UTC)
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also FFS what's with the huge increase in hairy butt-crack round this town recently? speaking of the inadequacy of pants.
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From:tatjna
Date:November 30th, 2011 04:59 am (UTC)
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I had not noticed the hairy butt cracks but you can bet your hairy cracked patootie that I will now. ;-)
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:December 1st, 2011 06:13 am (UTC)
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My apartment had the same vent for the dryer and the shower. Guess what? Lint builds up and blocks all the venting. Cleaning it out was suck but helped a lot.

- Thomas
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From:tatjna
Date:December 1st, 2011 09:55 am (UTC)
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That's handy to know, thank you!
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From:wildilocks
Date:December 1st, 2011 08:17 am (UTC)
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I love this post.

A few years ago I was a little sad when I realised I couldn't really get away with mini-skirts anymore, but I'm starting to get really tired, and so getting old doesn't bother me quite so much anymore.

I did realise though that steampunk was actually very aging-friendly, so love to dress in that style, and plan to continue to do so for many many years. Its dressy-uppy and silly-strange, but also dignified. You aren't invisible, but people also don't look at you like you're mutton dressed as lamb, yanno? :))
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From:missgriim
Date:December 1st, 2011 05:24 pm (UTC)
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lol.
yup, when your'e 60, party like its 1999 (if that makes sense to you. im a prince fan. i know, scary.)
I'm 22, dont wear makeup, dont care what people think, and do what makes me feel happy.
Hey, i got a guy that loves me, I dont have to worry.
and you got dr. wheel. so go us, we are awesome.
yeah, rather loopy today....or perhaps just everyday....
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From:tatjna
Date:December 1st, 2011 05:51 pm (UTC)
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Hehe does it count that I partied like it's 1999 in 1999? ;-D
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