Thursday, January 26, 2012
i'm going to seattle this week to spend some time with my grandmother while my aunt is out of town. she is one of my favorite people in the world. i know a lot of her stories by heart, featuring characters such as ole man jackson and betty diamond. she wouldn't be caught dead without her lipstick. she taught me how to have a winning smile (put your tongue behind your teeth when you smile - try it!) when i worked at coach in new york, i always joked that she would make a great PR intern. she loves to talk on the phone and read gossip mags and she is always snacking/talking about her diet. exactly what the nineteen year old interns do. betty jean is truly one of a kind. she made me realize that old(er) people can't believe they have aged. she tells stories of the ladies at bingo and refers to them as 'old bags' - she isn't one of them. she seems genuinely shocked that the mirror reveals something other than her twenty year old self. i'm starting to see glimpses of this, usually when i'm looking at the urban outfitters catalog. i don't belong here. this doesn't mean i'm old, it just means that i'm graduating. i read a great personal history in the new yorker yesterday that summed up how old might feel.
"however alert we are, however much we think we know what will happen, antiquity remains an unknown, unanticipated galaxy. it is alien, and old people are a separate form of life. they have green skin, with two heads that sprout antennae. they can be pleasant, they can be annoying -- in the supermarket, these old ladies won't get out of my way -- but most important they are permanently other. when we turn eighty, we understand that we are extra terrestrial. if we forget for a moment that we are old, we are reminded when we try to stand up, or when we encounter someone young, who appears to observe green skin, extra heads, and protuberances." - donald hall
what a challenge to observe our elders as they were while they are. i want to try and be better at seeing them. and hopefully, when it's my turn, i will be seen as well.