…actually mature. I’m not writing about what it means to be mature, or even old; I don’t have time to write about anything, really; and it’s frustrating as hell. Fifteen pages or so to go on my latest edit of “SWAMIS,” with a new twist to the ending that requires me to go back and make some changes in the first two hundred and eighty-six pages to make it all make sense; and I don’t have time to do that. It’s suddenly high painting season, and, hey, wait a minute… If you look carefully at the image, below, that I spent way too much time searching through bing images to find, you can see, in the background, a ladder and a guy on the second floor, quite possibly painting, while the guy with the Chevy, Butch Vanartsdalen-looking dude, is off to ride some waves.
Anyway, the piece below that is one I was forced to write for the Quilcene Community Center monthly newsletter; and is what I call ‘kind of generic humor.’ Not that it’s not amusing. Check it out; I was two hours late when I woke up. As that was, shit, shit, two hours ago.
A Few Opening Lines On, Uh, Um, Wait a Minute… Aging
ONE: There is, evidently, a significant difference between one asking, “Where was I” and “Where am I?”
TWO: I had, over a few days a few weeks ago, several, in fact, way too many reminders, and not that I needed any of them, that I am now, how should I phrase this, too old to die young.
I was hired, as I often am, to finish a painting project someone else started, which is to say, to paint the ‘high stuff.’ The homeowner on a new home construction project was planning on doing the painting on the two-story structure; but was convinced by the carpenters (young whippersnappers in their forties) he was a bit too old (no, they would have said something more like “not quite nimble enough,” he was writing the checks) to do the high ladder work.
Okay. Fine. But, somewhere in conversation with the fogey it was discovered he and I are almost exactly the same age. Class of ‘69. Yea! 69! Okay, end of celebration.
The next day (or so, not sure exactly) someone (can’t remember who, exactly) said, in the course of a conversation not centered on my advanced years, “You’re, like, seventy, right?” “No! Not yet!” Not quite yet… anyway. August, end of August. Still a (don’t read too much into this) sexagenarian.
So much for my believing I look ‘good for my age’ or have, or ever even did have, kind of a baby face.
Not that I look in mirrors any more often than necessary, or that I wear glasses if I must subject myself to my reflected countenance. Blurry is sometimes better. And I cannot say that I am not shocked when I do catch the occasional and accidental glimpse of my face and/or physique; and I should confess to the immediate reaction of shuddering and shaking before realizing it is not an attack by the Klingons.
Not that there’s anything wrong with shuddering and shaking; it’s almost like dancing- close enough.
THREE: I am known to, occasionally, burst into song. I, at least, do have various tunes enter my head, sort of, possibly, related to what I’m doing or how I’m feeling. When, in the course of a working day, I start feeling tired, the words and music to the theme song for “Petticoat Junction” might just enter the closed captioning in my brain (and, incidentally, I recommend and am totally dependent on it for TV and movie viewing- not just because of reduced neighbor complaints). If you are too young to know this, “Petticoat Junction” was a spin-off of “Green Acres,” which might have been a spin-off of… doesn’t matter; if you remember watching either of these shows when they originally ran… well… you know, it was ages ago. Ages.
If you don’t remember ancient TV, some GEN X-er or younger will no doubt look at you with wonder and amazement, and, without the constraints members older generations labored under, might actually ask something like, “Wait, and it wasn’t even in… color?” Or worse.
“Petticoat Junction” might have actually been in ‘living’ color. Anyway, the line is, “And there’s Uncle Joe, he’s a movin’ kinda slow… at the junction…” But wait, another line just popped into my head: “Lot’s of curves, you ew ew bet, even mo-ore, when you get… to the junction…” Yes, I am trying to help you with the phrasing should you feel inclined to start singing, randomly.
An action isn’t crazy or some signal of dementia if you can explain why you’re doing what you’re doing. Example: “Really, Officer? I know seat belts are legally required, pants, that’s kind of a gray area, isn’t it?”
FOUR: No one says a young person is spry. If this word is used on you as some sort of attempt at a compliment, you are, in my mind, justified in being somewhat insulted. “Spry? Me? Oh, thank you, kind young-en, let me see how far your fingers bend… backwards.
FIVE: We Jefferson County folks used to make fun of how old people are in Sequim. “If you want to avoid crowds at Costco,” someone might tell you, “It is open until 8:30 on weeknights, but the folks are all asleep by, like, seven-thirty, eight if they stay up to watch ‘Jeopardy.’” Well, sorry, but, like, demographically, our county is now, statistically, older. Somewhere in the mid-to-high 60s. Ouch.
SIX: Do you need a nap? Can you name even one rap star? Can you recite any lyrics to a Mylie Cyrus song? Did I spell Mylie correctly? Do I care if I didn’t? Do you even know what ‘woke’ is supposed to mean? Does Robert Redford still seem like a hunk to you? Do actors who try to come back in their old roles just look tired? Do you need a nap? Did I already ask that?
SEVEN: I looked up (yes, Googled) filial piety and dotage for this piece, so, durn it, I am going to include them. So… there.
There’s not much to recommend being… older, except, here’ one thing: I’ve been surfing almost my whole life. I was never considered as cool because of this as I considered myself. But now, and it’s, admittedly, mostly due to attrition (more from quitting than from dying); if I don’t get what might pass for respect that I’m still getting out there in the water… no, I shouldn’t brag about my perceived coolness, it’s not cool.
No, I don’t have an ending for this piece. I am not finished, and neither are you.