How to Live to a Ripe (Not Rude) Old Age

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Laurie: After a few minutes of fumbling with her Senior Citizen discount card and the slot in the entrance thingamajig at the front of the bus, the elderly lady hobbled over to a seat occupied by a gentleman and gestured for him to get up. Now this guy was no spring chicken but he was a tad younger than our Golden Oldie. He complied and gave her the seat. I listened really hard. Not a thank you anywhere to be found. In fact, he failed to exist after her bony bottom hit the plastic. And of course, it got me to thinking. Does age equal privilege? Does just the fact that you have made it to the Golden Years mean that you get special treatment? What if you spent those on-the-way-to-golden years abusing your kids, kicking your dog, ripping off friends and family? Do I still have to give you my seat on the bus or open a door for you? I think not.

elizabeth: I slip into the fourth dimension when I go out of my way to help or accommodate someone and the air is filled with silence. When people do that, I answer for them. “Why, thank you very much. That was such a generous gesture on your part and now I would like to show you the universal gesture for ignoring my kindness.” Okay I do not use hand signals but to me age does not give anyone permission to treat people like we are here for their amusement. That is what old boyfriends were good at so this girl is not tolerating it anymore. And I do agree with you that these nasty, rude people are just older versions of rotten people so why should be bow to them or sink to their level? 

Laurie: OK, you’re old.

elizabeth: You better not be talking to me. 

Laurie: So how much of your behavior do you want us to overlook? Technically we are all old by relative comparison, but I’m talking about the Senior Citizens. Each day more aches and pains invade my body, and I feel your pain. But that doesn’t mean I get to be rude, demand others give me what is theirs, and inflict my attitude on the world. And I will even give a great deal of latitude to New York City residents. If you are lucky enough to have survived the Big Apple for all these years, by definition you have to be one bad momma or poppa. But what’s with the attitude? Shouldn’t you be happy that you’re alive and semi-well and can demand seats on a bus? Quite likely, you remind me of my grandmother so I’ll slow down my pace because you are in front of me and walk a little slower; I’ll take the next elevator so you and your scooter can fit in the first one; and I will speak a little louder and a little slower so you can hear me. And yes, I will give you my seat on the bus under my own volition. But if you demand it, you and your cane are in for a long stand, Granny. 

elizabeth: I think this world would be a better place if we all treated each other with respect regardless of one’s age. Oh my God, she’s a bleeding heart liberal! Take the kids and hide out in the basement. I also hate when people think kids don’t have the right to their own thoughts and should not be heard.  I also believe (no, demand) that someone much older should not be treated like yesterday’s news. There is so much to learn from each other. And one thing we all have in common is that everyday we get a little older. But if you think your age is a free pass to abuse, well you just ran into the wrong two girls on the bus.


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