Today I bent down to pick up a pair of red strappy platform wedges and I twisted my back.
It was either that I underestimated how heavy they were, or that I overestimated my elasticity.
It could be worse though: Mick Jagger has just announced that he is going to be a Great Grandpa. The only one who seems to need to adjust to the news is his 42-year-old daughter Jade who parties with designers and other children of rock stars. Her 21-year-old daughter Assisi is three months along. How to spin the appeal of being a grandma while clubbing is an emergent challenge to multiple demographic slices who aren’t sure what it looks like to be grown up.
I’m a Great Aunt. But I want to be REALLY great at it. It helps that my nephews and nieces are irreverent. A few days ago, Keeley deadpan reported that the other babies in her Mommy Yoga class are named Dexter, Solara, and Sinatra. There is another one named An, but that is short for some complex Asian nomenclature. That Mommy Yoga exists is directly dependent on a unique geographic area where parents can name their children after the Chairman of the Rat Pack Board, a charismatic serial killer character on a TV show that films nearby, and a Chrysler convertible that is abundant in this beach village.
Four generations of our tribe celebrated my Mom’s 78th birthday on Sunday, beginning our festivities 16 minutes after Fall fell. When we arrived at the restaurant, all of the handicapped parking spaces were filled because we were just in time for the Early Bird special. In HB, this is a good sign: When old people frequent a restaurant, you can be sure that it won’t be overpriced. And you can be sure that it will taste good because there is no one meaner than a hungry old person. Except maybe a toddler.
Without disrespect, the toughest nights at the Club were what we called “Vinyl Nights”. These were featuring bands that had works that were originally released on vinyl. All the staff knew that the audience would be older and crueler than was typical. Looking at the lines on their faces as they walked in the door would give you an idea of what emotions they tended to entertain. If they were apple-doll nice, it showed. If they were vicious or had a life spent being pampered which led to being spoiled, it showed.
At an Iron Butterfly show, one guy picked a fight with an MMA competitor half his age. As security was intervening, the antagonist’s friends were screaming at us to be careful because his sternum still hadn’t knit together after getting open heart surgery the month before. Basically, his chest was still cracked open and everyone was expected to respect and accommodate his violence.
It is wise for a society to give honor and deference to age. But age doesn’t make character development a foregone conclusion. No one gets early retirement from work on the soul and heart.
At the birthday table dinner, Mom was talking about her upcoming high school reunion next summer. (I think we are all planning on going, but we will have to sit at the kids table.) During her conversation, she told the story about the lengthy process to authorize an on-stage kiss when she was cast in “Lost Horizon” that her school produced. No longer than three seconds. No rehearsals allowed. When the big moment finally came, the audience heard an audible groan from the young man whose lips were finally allowed to briefly press against those of our future mother.
Most of Mom’s class is still around. Many if not most have been married 50+ years. All went through the transition from Ricky and Lucy at home to traveling through the Summer of Love with four kids in the car. The freedom to do anything yielded to the dread pressure of doing something but not sure what. Expectations and assumptions changed. The map changed, just like Pakistan last week: After the 7.8 earthquake, a new island was pressed up and appeared off the coast. Remember the board game LIFE? It used to be quite simple with few alternate routes. Wonder what the new Version 20.13 looks like…? My parents waited longer than Mick Jagger to have kids, but eventually the kids came. Then the grandkids. And now, the greats…
After the Summer comes Fall, because that’s when the fruit starts to fall. As depressing as aging can be, it is the time when the harvest is sweetest and when the seed starts dropping to the ground. There is still one more chance to choose laugh lines over frowns before the winter sets in. Maybe that’s the way to go. Don’t conform, but instead transform…
And the nice thing about strappy red platform wedges is that they can carry you above the rain and ice as the cold descends.
NEXT TIME: Something Fabulous…
Pic from my cell phone of a more practical pair of shoes: My boots that I wore on the trip back from Paris. The sole (soul?) got caught in the moving walkway at Charles-de-Gaulle and torn off. So I was given Baggage Tape to keep it all together…am I reading too much into this?