Saturday before last, husband Niks and I went to a surprise birthday party for a woman who is turning 70. There were some young people there, but they were her children and their children. The friends in attendance were all over age sixty. A lot of us have a long history together.
We don't seem that old. To each other. But we got to talking about how old we are, and are gettin’ to be, and thinking about what it all means. Not one of us has figured life out yet.
We decided that there are some pretty good things about getting to our age, like our supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size. And the clothes we put away until they come back in style... have come back in style.
Plus there's nothing left to learn the hard way. We don't bother trying to hold in our stomachs, no matter who walks into the room. We all agree that "Happy Hour" now means getting a nap in. And "getting lucky" means you find your car in the parking lot. We can share our secrets with each other because none of us will remember any of them anyway.
It's true that when people call at 9 PM they ask, "Did I wake you?" And the answer is, "Hell yes, and since you know that, why did you call?" But really, most of us don't have any enemies. Well, there's gravity. I have come to the conclusion that my worst enemy is gravity. Gravity never quits.
Most of the men have ears which are hairier than their heads. And their idea of weight lifting is standing up. Now when they talk about "good grass" they're referring to their lawn. Some even talk about the options on their new easy chair the way they used to talk about the options on their new cars.
Half of these folks got cable for the weather channel. Old Folks MTV! But almost all of us have PC's and e-mail. Except the birthday girl. She's a hold-out.
But oh, we remember fondly things like sitting on the curb at night under a streetlight just talking; hide-and-seek; Simon Says; going home for lunch; hopscotch; skates with keys; jacks; wax lips; saddle shoes; coke bottles with the names of cities on the bottom; bobby pins; Mickey Mouse Club; Rocky and Bullwinkle; American Bandstand...in black and white. Your mother made you turn off the TV when there was a thunderstorm.
Remember the Stroll? Sock hops? My very first date was to a sock hop. Yes, we danced in our socks. Because our street shoes would have ruined the gym floor. Sneakers were for gym class, not for dancing.
We even talked fondly about things that were a nuisance at the time. Like it used to take at least five minutes for the TV to "warm up." Like that. And when we wore nylons that were two pieces.
We remember lying on our backs on the grass with friends and saying things like "That cloud looks like a (fill in the blank.)"
We remember when stuff from the store came without safety caps and hermetic seals, because no one could imagine trying to poison a perfect stranger. Or an imperfect one for that matter.
Now some in our group have to ask the pharmacy to package their medicines in containers that aren't childproof, because they have arthritis. It's either that or get a small child to come open it for you. Kids can usually get'em open with no problem.
You'll be happy to know that I'm going to quit this. I feel all melancholy now.