Ever since he turned 70, my grandpa has been telling me that when he was my age, he never expected to get to be his age. Since he was not just a member of a previous generation but also a Marine, I have no reason to think he's exaggerating. And yet when people said that Mark's grandma had lived a long, full life, I was only willing to give them "full" in my own head. She was not yet 80. I have expectations of how long I should get to keep people, and the lower bound on them is 90. I've lost loved ones before their 90th birthdays -- several times -- but it's always a shock and an affront. And I think it should be. Medicine has improved, dammit. I should get to keep my people.
I don't know how my mom would feel about me telling this story on her, but I don't think it's a bad one, so I'm going to go ahead. Last year she was walking to her car from some store or another, dressed for work in flowy dress-casual clothes. And some guy pulled up and said to her, "I don't want to seem like a creep, but I just wanted to tell you that you are still very attractive for a woman of our age." She told my dad and me this story, and Dad was annoyed, and I was infuriated. "'For a woman of your age!'" I spat. "He had a lot of nerve, 'for a woman of your age!' Lucky I wasn't there. I'd have told him!" My momma turned 50 this May, and my momma is pretty for a person, for a woman, and women of whatever age would be very lucky if they looked like my momma, thankyaverymuch. (The best picture for me is the one towards the bottom, where she's goofing with her slippers. Because she's having fun.)
Mom was a little bemused by my reaction. "He was trying to be nice," she said. I said, "Next time he should try harder, then!" And Dad and I both went around muttering, and Mom looked at us like we'd lost our minds.
I know this guy wasn't the enemy, but good heavens, what an idiot.
timprov and I tease markgritter that he's old, and every year when I pass T up again he teases me that I'm getting old. But honest-to-goodness old? My grandparents just started to get to that. They're still learning how. I hope they have a long time to get it right, but they're quite new to it in the last few years. It's good on them. They're doing well with it so far. But Grandpa is 76, and he's just started being old. And when my friends tell me how long "people" live, I can't help but wonder how many times their definition is going to change before they're done.