Wrinkles, funny smells, war stories, shameless opinions... what's not to like?!
I find that when you discuss the subject of elderly folks with people my age, you come across two differing standpoints. Those who are lovers and those who are haters.
I've got a lot of friends who can't stand old people; they get depressed by just looking at them. And I can see why. Aches and pains, added dietary fiber, walkers, wheelchairs, cataracts, Depends, bi-focals- none of those words have very appealing connotations.
However, for some unbeknownst reason... old people make me laugh. Like to the point that I need to take anti-inflammatory meds from the ab-workout their jokes give me. It's like they've absorbed the humor of all the comedians from the beginning of time, and with one little wink, after an under-their-breath side remark, they have me rolling on the floor, cracking up for hours on end.
Old people are funny, because they know they are funny. Just listen to an old person tell a joke. They never laugh at themselves, even though they are very obviously kidding. It's all about the punch-line, followed by the serious, un-effected, "Hey, what's-so-funny?" face.
Hell, I visited an older gentlemen in a nursing home once, and he flat out asked me if he could give me a kiss... said that I was just his type of woman. He was about 90 years old and I was probably 20. It made me laugh so hard, I almost had to excuse myself to use the restroom. And he got a kick out of the fact that I got a kick out of him. But, I could tell that he still wanted to kiss me, because when he looked in the mirror at himself, the fella he saw was a strapping, young guy who looked like this...
But from my perspective, he looked like this...
So, although, I didn't let his denture-less smacking gums come anywhere near my lips, that old guy actually made me blush. I mean, at one point or another in his life, he resembled James Dean (hot.), and he was probably the biggest ladies man around during his heyday, so I had to respect him for that.
Ya see, in his day, he didn't tell girls they were fine or hot; he told them they were stunning. And women didn't dress like sleaze-balls to attract men; they allured guys by the sexy way in which they carried themselves. Hence, fewer divorces back then. Because relationships were built on personable compatibility, not on lust. Crazy concept, I know.
The amount of knowledge that people accumulate over a lifetime, is also the main reason why I can't get enough of elderly people. They are so smart and cultured, yet most of them have never stepped foot inside a college. I think I could sit and listen to old people tell stories for days upon days without getting bored. It's almost like you're in the middle of the best book you've ever read when they recall their memories; remembering everything in such vivid detail, as if it happened to them the previous week, not 57 years prior.
And they never sugar coat ANYTHING. The raw bluntness that elderly people use in conversation is a trait that I both desire and envy. I can't wait to tell it like it is. You think my blog's good now? Wait until I'm 70.
Yes, sometimes they are senile. Literally whacked-out-of-their-minds crazy. But that's ok. I don't pity people who are insane from old age. Because if you talk to them for long enough, you sense that they still got it... even if "it" is just a memory. The day their son hit a home-run for the first time in little league, or the moment they first knew they wanted to marry their spouse, or the night they snuck out and drank their first beer with their best friend. Most of the time, old people still have something they hold dear to them, which is, to me, what makes them human... relatable... just like me. When you stop to think about it, the ability to keep a memory so fresh in their mind, palpable enough that they can laugh or cry when they recall it, is such a wonderfully beautiful thing. Even if everything else sitting in their brain is complete mush.
So, don't feel bad for old people. They've lived, loved, made mistakes, and experienced the world in more ways than you can imagine. Ask them about it. And if you're one of those people who feels uncomfortable talking to elderly folks, close your eyes and picture them as James Dean... in his underwear. That may or may not help you.