Tag Archives: Mah Jongg

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.


MahJongg Wednesday: Part Deux

15 Jun

Tonight was just your average Wednesday game of MahJongg with grandma and her friends. This time, my grandma put out hard salami, crackers, cheese, fruit AND cookies–clearly she was feeling generous. Yet again I was the only one who ate any of it while grandma’s friends just wanted iced tea with milk. There wasn’t much discussion at the table this evening aside from the game itself–I won one round–but there was on particular conversation that stuck out. The “WeingerGate” scandal came up somehow–oh yes, I was tweeting and one of the ladies said “isn’t that how you get into trouble?” Naturally, the conversation evolved from there.

“Shumer thinks so highly of him.”

“He was set to do big things…until he took his pants off!”

Elder women are absolutely lovely to hang out with. Their point of view on current events and pop-culture is somehow…refreshing!


Next week I plan to ask them about Hugh Hefner’s cancelled wedding.

MahJongg Wednesdays

9 Jun

So it’s official–I have retired, but only temporarily, of course. Also, only on Wednesdays. You see, this summer I will be partaking in a MahJongg game night every Wednesday night with my grandmother and 3-4 of her friends. Last night was our first game and let’s just say it was quite interesting. The way these women kvetch leaves me schvitzing and kvelling. Oy vey. Last night served as a refresher for some of the ladies as they haven’t played in a while, but my grandma is a pro. She’s been playing forever, has gone on MahJongg cruises for years AND she was once asked to help create the official MahJongg hand card one year. She won the first three games last night, but, I won the last two! Too bad we weren’t playing for money because my hands would have won me a whopping $00.50. Yes, 50 cents.


More to come on this weekly gathering…unless the ladies decide it won’t work, in which case I will blame myself because they’re intimidated by my youth.

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