Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Those were the days, my friend

I noticed today, not for the first time, that I am definitely getting old. In some ways, on the inside, I still feel like I am 18; I still feel awkward and gauche in social settings, un-informed about current events, certain that everyone else is better than me at cooking and housekeeping, that my kids are lazy and self-centered, and I'm a lousy driver. But yet as I look around me, I can see that, like the lyric in 'Strawberry Wine' there is nothing that Time hasn't touched. I think of my Lotsa dog, and with a jolt I realize that the puppy times for her were more than 20 years in the past. I think about heart-ties to pets that no one but me and N remember. I think about friends that came and went in my life, some moving away, and some passing on. Family traditions that have vanished because there is no one left to do them. Places like playgrounds and parks that are no more. They're tearing down my old high school this year, a school that was 'state-of-the-art', and building a new one just in time for my 40th reunion. Physical things, old photos that have faded to illegibility, dried corsages that are ribbon and dust, a quilt that is nearly transparent from use, even prosaic things like my rolling pin, a gift on our wedding day from my to-be father-in-law, that got crammed in a drawer once too often. Who expects to wear out a rolling pin? And like my mother did in her day, I find many new things to be unsatisfactory; much cheaper in price, but poorly made, solid old brick buildings replaced by new cracker boxes with paper thin walls, lovely big trees cut down between one day and the next to make room for more parking spaces. I always thought that I was someone who embraced change, like when the music of the 60s disappeared I found the current music to be fine too--right up until the 90s ended, and the music began to sound too strident, too incoherent, and yes, too loud. Now everyone looks too young to me, doctors, plumbers, mailmen, everyone, and when I see old farts on TV gabbing on and on about the Vietnam war, it's a shock to realize they are in fact my age. The entertainers like Cher and Robert Redford are old farts too, and the new ones on the magazine covers are completely unrecognizable. People talk about movies I've not only not seen, but never even heard of, when did that happen? When I tell the kids an old old joke, they laugh instead of groan, because it's not old to them. When I watch TV, I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out where I've seen that actor before, only to find out it's the son or daughter of the actor I remember. And god knows my body is wearing out, I've only to listen to the cacophony of my knees to know that.

Anyway, as I reflect on all of this, I wonder if it wouldn't be the best to accept, even embrace my ever-growing decrepitude. Go ahead and wear cotton housedresses and ankle socks. Give up makeup, haircolor, and tweezing my bristles. Keep playing LPs, go back to Windows 3.1, put cash in little envelopes for groceries, clip coupons.

Wait a minute...would I have to vote Republican?

Never mind.

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