A cherished friend left our plane recently, taking his himness with him. His passing leaves a vast hole we look into and ponder. Am I living life as richly as he? Do I spread joy like that? With whom will I now discuss the peculiar appeal of sherry? Prince was not the friend, but he’s also left a giant void.
Fact is, in your 20s and 30s you’re pretty much the same. In your 40s you begin changing. In your 50s: boom. You’re different, inside and out. I told a friend, “Suddenly we’re older than the parents of school children.” His response: “Way older.”
Earth too is rapidly changing, her creatures with it. The YPs (young people) — my lord — they’re self-assured, clever, upbeat. And TALL. Especially the girls. Like herds of longhaired gazelles. Their male panther counterparts greet each other with, “Hey bro, what’s good?” or, “Tell me what’s good.” One parent says that because the world is so screwy, they specifically request good news. I like it. I like them.
As Kanye designs ugly velour tracksuits and Teletubby-like outfits and Taylor Swift’s haircut eclipses real news, I feel like an old dino. But as a Baby Boomer, I am not outnumbered. I enjoy baffling the YPs by singing, “I’m so glad we had this time together,” or the theme to Gigantor. The YPs are like, “Huh?” – a “word” my generation considers gauche, much as our parents did the word “like” as used here.
Try dropping pearls such as “the old switcheroo”; “Oh, Miss Crabtree”; “Your muffler: fix it!”; or “The agony of defeat.” These and the hook used in Vaudeville are lost on the YPs, akin to our parents’ referencing Your Show of Shows. We can’t memorize phone numbers and we know little about social media, gaming, graphics, or the actors with three names, but we remember like yesterday how every time Rob Petrie opened a closet, a snowshoe fell out.
It’s a lot of work to avoid becoming hopelessly out of touch. My chiro’s daughter said recently, “Mom, instead, could you wear, like, leggings and boots?” So twice a week she does. When did pants become foolish? Our mothers didn’t want us to wear pants in public; now our kids don’t. Hell, we fought to wear pants. I’m wearing them. Corduroys, painters pants, cigarette pants … bring it awn. Let’s bring back knickers. Bloomers.
Alas, we’ll have to keep up or give up – in planned communities, retirement villages, or facilities designed for people who can’t climb stairs. Considering this is depressing. But mostly we don’t think about it. Like old jalopies, my People have seen a lot of road and have hit some motherless potholes. So we’re kind to each other. We still see each other as we were: vibrant, sexy, hilarious, relevant. Who cares how the rest of America sees us? Our People’s opinions are what matters, right?
And we’re losing our People. With them goes our inside jokes, our shared memories, who we are. So with the (still many) friends yet here, we toddle off into the future. We’ll floss our receding gums to Physical Graffiti and snort about wattles, jowls, Portosan® waiting line etiquette, air raid drills, Mystery Date, fake ID’s, and Match Game ’76 as we MacGyver our walkers. We’ll know we’ve become pathetic, but we’ll have the sun and the moon and each other. We won’t have to be 5’11”, we’ll be the right height to see each other without hurting our necks. We won’t need mirrors, we’ll have our People’s chortling visages to reflect our own. We won’t even need our minds any more; we have what a friend calls his “external brain”: the smart phone. Or whatever that device evolves into by then. Some sort of implant.
The world seems worsening with miseries, often monetary. Following, dear Reader, are causes for hope: 1. As financial experts report, the market is turbulent during presidential races; after the election, regardless of who wins, the market soars. 2. My hunch is that once the economic inequity that has plagued Earth for so long balances out some, ISIS et alia will wither from lack of interest. 3. As the races and creeds intermingle throughout the Lands, there is ever less fear of Other. The earth becomes more diverse locally, breeding a new level of understanding (the Age of Aquarius, YPs!). When we work or play with someone unlike us, we see them as a person, not a type. This, of course, if there’s any land left after the glaciers melt.
And so, in what time you have left, what do you most want to do? Of your many possible contributions, what is your best choice? What gets your groove on? What will matter in the end? Do that. If you’d like to discuss it over a glass of sherry, ring me up. I’d like that. Good day.
Departed friend, we’ll miss so your wit and empathy, wisdom and cheer. Safe travels.
firstname.lastname@example.org ann.aikens.7 on Facebook. Twitter handle: at @uvgvt.
…on Green Up Day, when Vermonters comb the Land for garbage and citizens with trucks (not uncommon in Vermont) haul it off to the dump. Literally tons of garbage statewide.
I found the usual assortment of party implements plus mystery stuff. Like Spider Man underwear (size: extra extra small; they make underwear this little?) and a shoe so badly destroyed you had to wonder what happened to it (threshing machine? Two bears fought over it?) Also a sign that said WATCH IT GROW (watch what grow, the cubic volume of garbage? A Bud Light tree?) The kindly lady I worked with had somehow hauled a mattress into her truck, after days of rain. New Englanders are tough, man.
As I passed other Green Uppers later in my car, I gave them the same double-honk and thumbs-up out the window we’d gotten earlier. Good work, keepers of the Land!
… like garbage.
Green Up Day in Vermont is a day when the people of the Land take to the roadsides, woods, and riversides to pick up all the crap left behind — or thrown from cars — by careless losers. (No photo available.)
People of all ages out with their special green bags (and latex gloves) stumble upon points of interest as a reward. Today I saw I giant marshmallow, a tricked out tree, and a [Northern?] Magnolia. I learned that beef from grass-fed cows contains the recommended ratio of omega 6s to omega 3s (3:1), and that cows fed hay cut from the flood zone after Hurricane Irene had guts blackened by snails in the grass. Sooper ick.
…and I know you do, here’s a swell little gadget by Ekobrew just in time for Green Up Day. You fill it with your own coffee (at a mighty savings) and throw nothing into landfill. Ahhh.
Tips: I got mine on eBay. Use a medium to coarse grind. The basket empties much easier if you let it dry out. It’s hard to get the full aroma with decaf, so I switched to flavoured coffees. There are videos on YouTube on its use; this guy fairly compares the rivals. I refuse to buy Keurig’s version of the device because, welllll, they certainly took their time in making it, now didn’t they?
Find out what your Vermont town is doing for Green Up Day here. Catch you by the river.
This is a sacred day when hardy volunteers pick up trash from roadside, riverside, and whatever else man pollutes. I was assigned to a remote dirt road where I collected in my bags a wide—and disgusting—array of items (shell casings, beer and wine bottles, 175 cig butts, rusty saw blade….) But I came across lovelier man-made items as well: a stack of rocks, Royal LaRoque’s farm, and a fairy house, photos to be posted in upcoming column on garbage.