Monday, April 19, 2010

Old

How many frigging Twitter feeds are there devoted to Justin Bieber? I can't go to the Twitter sign-on screen these days without seeing something from a feed dedicated to him--and it's a different one every time. I'd never heard of Justin Bieber until about a month ago. I was in one of my favorite restaurants having dinner, when a family of five was seated at a nearby table. The two girls in the family, who were probably somewhere between 12 and 14 in age, were on their cell phones, frantically calling a radio station to win Justin Bieber tickets. Their conversation was accompanied by all of the pants-wetting excitement of newly-pubescent girls in love with some corporate boy-toy. I've had no desire to investigate the musical talent, or potential lack thereof, of the young Mr. Bieber. In the long run, it won't matter if he has any talent. Once he's too old (meaning about 20 years old), no one will even remember who he is.

Pop stardom is a here today, gone tomorrow sort of thing, unless you really do have a lot of talent. Actually, that's not true--you can stay in the limelight for a long time if you're scandal ridden. You're probably saying, "Now come on, Brigid, surely you were just as starry-eyed at 12 years old." And the answer is, yes, I probably was. Not over Justin Bieber, who was not even a twinkle in his father's eye at that point. I think I preferred Duran Duran at that age, though that interest only lasted about a year. In any case, it's a horrible phase in any girl's life, and I would not repeat it for any amount of money or anything else. It makes you stupid. Not that I can't find other ways to be stupid, but I like to think they're more dignified. ("Dignified stupidity"--try selling that idea to someone...)

It's my birthday, and I'm edging ever closer to 40 years old. Frankly, it's not old enough. I am looking forward to perfecting the art of "crotchety". I can't wait to come running out my front door, threatening kids playing on my front lawn with a cane. Though in 42 years, there may not be much of a lawn. And I'd probably have a semi-automatic weapon instead of a cane. But whatever works.

Seriously--the best part about getting old is that people dismiss your personal weirdness. You can do and say almost anything as an old person, and people will respectfully nod, even if they think you're a major loon. They'll assume you're getting Alzheimer's, or some other kind of dementia, and just laugh it off and tell stories about you. Come to think of it--if people think you have Alzheimer's, you might also be able to get away with beating the snot out of someone who annoys you. But then they might put you in a nursing home, so that's risky.

When I was at the John Foxx show in Bath, we somehow got onto the topic of witchcraft at the party given by John afterwards. (I think Karborn mentioned something about pentagrams, and I was tired enough to comment). Steve, John's manager, asked me if I was "witchy". I said no, which is pretty much true--I don't practice witchcraft, though I know a fair amount about it. But that would be a great rumor to start when I get old. Having younger kids think you're a witch can lead to some pretty awesome pranks. Of course, by the time I'm 80, no one will believe in such things anymore, so maybe it won't be so awesome. I'll have to let them think I'm a vampire or something instead. Or a Cthulhu cultist. Whatever scary thing is in vogue at that time.

At the very least I'd have "crazy" as a fallback. I think having too much company in your old age is overestimated. My Mom always laments that I haven't had kids, because I won't have anyone when I get old. Which is nonsense, because if I did have kids, they'd just put me in a home and forget about me. I'd rather burn my own house down around me due to dementia, thank you very much.

Genetically, there's a lot of promise. My Dad turns 79 this year, and doesn't look a day over 55. Mom looks pretty good, too--I think she's 73 this year. She still works at a public library, and I'm always amused when men try to hit on her and follow her to her car looking for a phone number. My Dad has been retired for years and doesn't deal with such things. When my father's mother was still living in her home and suffering from very severe dementia, she was convinced that my father was having an affair with another woman. (She was also convinced that I was dead and my then-husband had murdered me, even though I visited her daily.) If you know my father, this is laughable. Even when he was a young man in the 1940s, he had more interest in car engines and his motorbike than girls. I saw his high school yearbook, and it mentions him seeing a girl called "Grace" in the blurb someone wrote about him. I asked him who Grace was; he puffed on his pipe, and raised his eyebrows thoughtfully. "Grace? She was some girl who used to follow me around. I don't know why." That level of romantic cluelessness is something I'm pretty sure I've inherited, which is probably not so good. But you can't have everything.

While I'm nostalgic about some periods in my life, I'm not nostalgic enough to want to "go back." I was not a gorgeous teenager. Couple that with the rampant hormonal surges, anxiety, low self-esteem, lack of freedom, and general insecurity that accompanies the teen years, and you might well imagine that only a lobotomite would want to go back. Assuming they could remember. I do miss the level of imagination that I had in my pre-teen years. That would be nice to have now. Some people would say I still have it, but they really have no idea. I'm much more inhibited as an adult. It just happens.

I mentioned my desire to get really old to my mother, who was horrified. My Mom has another condition, called "satire-impairment". My father knows this, and has been "yanking her chain" (to use her phrase) for years. It's pretty funny to watch. But I hope it's something I never inherit.

1 comment:

Jennie said...

Too funny. As you approach 40 I just hit 44. It's not that bad but you do get to say what you think and its okay.