The Elderly

2 Jul

I feel like I really know old people. I mean, senior citizens. The elderly?

I’m really in touch with them. I may even be turning into one. I only shop at department stores, I love a good coupon and Mah Jongg is quickly becoming one of my favorite games. All of this may just make me Jewish, but I’d like to think I’m one with the elderly. Except I can still drive above 35mph and still stay within one lane.

A lot of people dislike the elderly. And after living with my grandmother for a few summers I can definitely understand why, but I think they’re more lovable than anything else. They’ve gone through a lot, most of them at least. Wars, depression, seeing their loved ones pass away and movie tickets used to be about 50cents, so give them a break because life used to be better for most of them.

The elderly are incredibly lovely, intelligent, bitter people. Well, not all of them are bitter but some of the folks I hang out with are. But then again, so are some of the younger people I hang out with. Even I’m bitter about some things in life. Like, a Sonic finally opened on Long Island but it’s still about 40 minutes away from me. That kind of bitter, I guess.

You’d be amazed–the elderly talk shit about each other! It’s awesome. There’s no other way to describe it. And they do it the old fashioned way–in person. They don’t cowardly hide behind a text or email (mostly because they wouldn’t know how to do that) they just say it without hesitation. “That woman is a pain.” “Oh, that Rhonda? She’s no good.” None of it ever goes above and beyond simplistic shit talking, but it’s just so great. And they gossip! I’ll never forget listening to my grandmother and her friend s discuss the Anthony Weiner scandal last year during a weekly game of Mah Jongg. Ironically, I tweeted about it. They don’t get Twitter, either, but they’re all at different levels of technological understanding. There’s the most basic level which I believe is where my mom’s mom is–they can use a cell phone but don’t know how to do anything else. They also can’t text. Then there’s a more advanced level, which is where my dad’s mom is–they can use cell phones, text, surf the web and send/receive emails. Then, of course, there’s what I like to call the super-advanced elderly who can do everything the basic and advanced elderly can do, plus more. This includes, but is not limited to, setting up and understanding the concept of wifi, changing ink cartridges and installing software.

One common misconception about old people is that they really like a good, quality sweater vest. Well, for the past few summers I’ve been living with my grandmother while working in the city and let me tell you I rarely see any sweater vests. My grandmother likes to wear “boxy” shirts, actually. Perhaps the lack of sweater vests correlates directly with the increase in the heat index over the summer but never mind that. Just know that sweater vests are not synonymous with the elderly.

They’re such a unique demographic in the sense that many of them don’t know what demographic they’re a part of. For example, my grandmother likes to see movies, but doesn’t necessarily go to films meant for her demographic, i.e. the time she went to see “Corky Romano,” that lovely Chris Kattan movie that no one, except for my grandmother, saw. Just the other day she decided to go to a Thai Chi class at the Y and hated it. The twist? She said it was too slow for her. Funny, you’d think she’d be too slow for it. But that’s just it. The elderly aren’t all they’re assumed to be. Yes they play Mah Jongg and yes they don’t understand how to turn on a computer but they’ll often surprise you. For instance, my grandmother still has the tolerance to book airline tickets over the phone. NO ONE does that anymore! But she does–and that surprises me. Not that she uses the phone, but her level of tolerance for actually speaking to someone over the phone in a day and age where the Internet is king. What’s the Internet? Just kidding, I’m not feeling that old. Also, she doesn’t have plastic on any of her couches. So, take that, society.

I’m not exactly ready to board a Mah Jongg cruise (which my grandmother goes on annually) but I’d say it’s definitely a possibility in the future. If anything, I’m ahead of the game and will make a killing in the Mah Jongg teaching business when I’m older and looking for something to generate income after retirement. You may laugh now, but I shall laugh later. All the way to the (Zipper coin purse) bank!

My name is Allie, I’m 21 years young and I’m proud to say that I listen to the baseball game on the radio while my grandmother and I eat dinner supper in the dining room.

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