(photo courtesy of Tracy Christiansen)
my two favorite things about older people are: first, the wisdom they've lived for and second, their cool disregard of the somewhat phony tact of younger generations.
it's as though they know what's up and they've got no qualms about sharing it; kindly or otherwise. I guess at a certain age you really have just come into your own and that's that.
now and again you come across a really abrasive person of a certain age and it's really unpleasant... but for todays purposes we'll label that under senescent behavior and move along to what I want to believe is more common. (it may be self delusion, but I need to believe I will be a nice old person)
so now I'm talking about that cute couple in your parents neighborhood with all the old war stories and picture covered walls or the rambling wrinkled man all dressed up in his tweed suit to go to the store for milk.
you want to really know how you look? you want some honest feed back on your behavior?
your best bet is to ask someone under the age of 5 or over the age of 85. (un)fortunately for us ridiculous humans floundering somewhere in the middle, they in these age groups don't often need prodding to produce said critiques.
but here's the coolest part...what an older person or a younger child has to say to you will often be shockingly truer than you bargained for. And nearly completely (I should say as completely as this mortal life allows) without the tainted perceptions of things like money, status, and pride.
I don't really know why since I belong so painfully and obviously to the middle group. but here's my educated guess: when you're young; you're unaware, when you're old; you're all too aware. and both places leave you honest and true. I think.
I bet you're wondering where I'm going with this sort-of rambly post... remember this?
Well a sort of crotchety, big old man in the waiting room of a bleak doctors office today reminded me of it by bluntly speaking his mind. He came in after me, sat down abruptly across from me and immediately, boldly inquired into my affairs. No wait... he boldly stated his perception.... no questions were uttered.
and he was right. completely right. nothing in my behavior (I'm slowly become a freaky germ-a-phobe that gets squirly in public) or my dress (today was cold and I wore black combat boots and a mens flannel shirt.... don't judge) or even the way I know I carry myself these days due to a really awful blow to my womanhood could have tipped him off... yet...
somehow... somehow he saw me. and it only took him two measured seconds to do it.
he will never read this. he will never know that as soon as I was out of sight I shed a tear of relief, thinking.... maybe this world will see me for who I am after all.
and I guess I wrote this whole thing as a sort of ode to this slightly caustic man and his slew of inspired words.