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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Devious Elderly; or Oh, She Knows What She’s Doing


Whatever the woman across the room did for a living in her younger years, she now appears to be working as a geriatric call girl.

I nudge Peg in the ribs, lift my chin in the tiny woman’s direction.  She grins at me.  “What do you think that coat is made of?”

“Squirrel?”

She is tiny: tiny purple Spandex pants, brown suede boots, a large purple fur coat swallowing her tiny torso.  You could see that she had been a beautiful woman, and even now, firmly in her 80s, she was quite attractive.

Still.  That coat…

We are at the Minneapolis Public Library for a free reading from Calvin Trillin.  Early evening, mid-winter, Peg and I are in a literary tizzy.  Calvin writes how we both wish we could write, and to see him read, and speak, for free, is more than our little post-work heads can handle.

We are the youngest people in line for the auditorium. 

“When’s the last time you were the youngest one in the room, huh?”  Peg has a clear voice, Boston-accented.  If you were to reach her on the phone you’d be tempted to ask if her mother was home. 

Sophie!” Tiny Purple screeches.  A small group of small women burst into a flurry of shouts and tiny, adorable gestures.

“Look at that,” I say.

And there she goes.  Tiny Purple has moved well past us and near the head of the line.

Peg shakes her head.  “That woman just butted!”

Moments later, four more women join them. 

And coats in hand, scarves and hats and gloves stuffed into our sleeves, Peg and I smile at each other. 

“Some day we’ll be that old,” Peg says.

I nod.  “And I’m goin’ straight to the front of the line.”

29 comments:

Shelly said...

You need to include a spew warning at the beginning of this post. Because that's what I just did- spewed my water.

I just may be that woman in a few years, too, except my color will be pink.

And Pearlie- you'll hold a place for me in line, right?

joeh said...

Old people don't have time to wait in line!

BACKOFF!!

Camille said...

Line cutters really cheese me off - even if they're 80 years old, wearing squirrels, and near death. Get to the back of the line you old broads...we're all on borrowed time here! Thank you for letting me get that off my chest Pearl :-)

Simply Suthern said...

You need to keep free sample sizes of Polygrip in your pocket to toss on the floor so you can slide by them as they dive for free stuff.

Susan Williams said...

Dang.
You just can't confront someone who provokes that much compassion and warm feeling.

Diabolically clever!!!

Pearl said...

Oh, you guys are really funny this morning, aren't you? :-)

Jacquelineand.... said...

You, Pearl, insure that my monitor is cleaned on a regular basis!

TexWisGirl said...

good for them. and God bless 'em!

Chantel said...

It's a Depends moment...I'm all about letting the weak bladders get about their business. I'm not gonna mop.

jenny_o said...

I'm already that old.

'scuse me....'scuse me... thanx dear

Well, maybe not THAT old - just practicing for when I am :)

Stephen Hayes said...

Letting these elderly ladies step ahead of you has no doubt earned you some good karma.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Age is no excuse for ignorance....just sayin'.

Indigo Roth said...

When you reach my age, Pearl, you can look forward to disgraceful old age. For now, concentrate on a disgraceful young one. Can I help you? Why yes, I'd love to! Roth x

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

D's grandma was like that--I swear, old people act like toddlers, just all impulse and instant gratification.

Susan Kane said...

I would, too. At that age, I might not be alive by the time I made it to the front of the line.

Ian Lidster said...

If we both try real hard can we write like Calvin Trillin? Oh, how I envy you that opportunity to hear him. Now, for the old babe, work hard and you can go to the front of the line, too. And so you should.

Cheryl said...

Pearl, I swear, some women never leave junior high. And my response is firmly rooted in Morningside Junior High - saving seats still ticks me off!

Daisy said...

Never trust old people--especially ones in purple coats!!

Daisy said...

I knew I was getting old when - invited to a celebration at a local First Nations Reserve, I got in line with all the other people. One of the "ushers" came up to me and said: "Elders go first", while escorting me to the head of the line. I was astonished - and officially a senior!
Daisy's Barbara

Geo. said...

Purple is the color of royalty, Pearl. Some people just grow those coats.

Craver Vii said...

Um... taser.

Jackie said...

Love her name...perfect for her.
Made me smile!
Don't you just love the 'line butters'... (NOT!)...(no matter what their age.)
Seems wisdom should come with age...
Hugs,
Jackie

Gigi said...

Yes, Pearl, one day (in the far too near future) you and I will be old enough for those shenanigans...and I'll save a place in line just for you.

Joanne Noragon said...

It took your geriatric call lady so long to put herself together for the event it's a wonder she was alive to get there. Rude is still rude.

Lin said...

Whoa NO. Girlfriend ain't cuttin' no matter HOW old she is! I call those old folks out. I mean, they have nuthin' going on ALL day..they've got time to stand in line. They can wait like the rest of us.

I'm mean like that.

Murr Brewster said...

I'm even more annoying than the line-butters. I smile like the Holy Mother and say "oh, you go right ahead of me, dear. I'm retired." I can't say those words often enough.

Belle said...

Dressing weird when you are old starts with wearing a sports bra, that doesn't hold you up, outside the house. I know because this is what I now do at 62 yrs. old. Plaid pants and a flowered blouse are next. That was my aunt's favorite outfit.

Linda O'Connell said...

Some old ladies may lose their looks and their filters, but not their sass. I know.

Mariodacatsmom said...

Damn, I haven't been exercising my "old lady" rights. "Move over everyone - here I come."