As a follow-on to my post of the other day about aging and not caring what anyone thinks, I got an eye opener this evening as to what I don’t want to be when I grow up.
I made a late evening shopping trip to our local grocery super store, Wegmans. Wegmans is a big deal around here. Nearly everyone shops there. It’s more than a grocery store. They offer a little bit of everything, and they do a good job of it.
I was walking in, and as usually happens, people were coming out as we were going in. There was a small, elderly lady, coming towards me pushing a cart. She was probably in her 80’s with dyed, dark brown hair. Her husband was walking along behind her, and he was having trouble walking. He was quite a ways behind her.
She took one look at me walking in with my 23 year old son, and she turned to say something to her husband. He didn’t hear her so she repeated herself. I heard her quite clearly the first time.
She said, “I’m so sick of all these kids with their tattoos; that’s all I’ve seen since we got here.”
I was a little taken aback and didn’t say anything until it was too late. I should’ve either thanked her for calling me a “kid” or I should’ve said, “I’m 60. Bite me, Grandma.” Instead I muttered, “Go fuck yourself” under my breath. (She really ticked me off).
Getting older shouldn’t mean becoming intolerant to everything. What in the hell is wrong with people? It’s 2019. Many people have ink or piercings. If you don’t like it, don’t look, but for heaven’s sake, keep your trap shut about it. She was a narrow minded old bird.
She was talking about me, not my son. I have six tattoos. My son has zero tattoos. I have one on each ankle, two on my left forearm, one on my right forearm and one on my right wrist. I waited until I was 50 to get the first one. I’d always wanted one, but my mother was also intolerant. I couldn’t get my ears pierced until I was 21 because, “If God wanted you to have holes in your head, you would have been born with them.” I was, Mom. They’re called nostrils, ears, eyes, and my mouth. Insert eye roll here.
My neighborhood is full of intolerant old people. I see the hate on a daily basis.
There’s the big-mouthed old lady across the street who complained about my husband’s big truck being on the street even though it wasn’t breaking any laws. She stands in her front window in her bra and panties. Oh, but that’s okay. So is her constant bellowing at her grandchildren.
There’s the wizened old creep behind me who was catching small animals in have-a-heart traps and then leaving them there to suffer and die or he took them into his garage and did God knows what to them. I called animal control and the police on him. They made him stop. Here’s hoping his afterlife involves a big steel cage.
There’s the prissy old jerk beside us who cuts his grass three times a week. Over the years he’s sprayed Roundup on my flowers more than once – the hydrangeas my sons bought me for Mother’s Day, the special variety of black eyed Susan’s my friend gave me from her yard, the sedum my other friend gave me from her garden, and the huge clump of variegated violets from my Gramma’s yard come to mind. I’ve cried over many flowers he’s killed in his zeal to eradicate any and all weeds. He’s the moron who put wooden boards in the gaps in the hedge between our properties to keep my squirrels out of his yard. I’ve let my yard go on purpose just to tick him off. I don’t weed, and everything is overgrown. I stopped caring when he came in my yard and killed things I’d carefully nurtured.
Old age doesn’t have to mean intolerance, cruelty and stupidity. Perhaps these people were asses when they were younger; I’ll never know. I do know they’re judgmental idiots now, and I don’t want to be that way.
Aging brings freedom. It doesn’t have to bring bigotry, meanness and hatred.