Of the aged and oddPosted: February 18, 2011
Today I witnessed two fantastic incidents of old people, in two different parts of the city, doing weird and awesome things.
The first: Walking on 25 de Mayo just off the Plaza de Mayo was a woman, probably in her mid seventies, who was literally and purposefully leaving a trail of breadcrumbs behind her. There were no birds to feed or anything of the sort but every few steps she’d reach into a grocery bag and scatter a handful of crumbs beside her. She was walking very slowly and deliberately but the expression on her face suggested total distraction.
The second: Walking on Avendida Cordoba was a man, also in his mid-seventies, dragging a very old, bright orange vacuum cleaner behind him. There are more obvious explanations for his behavior than there are for the trail of breadcrumbs (perhaps he was taking the vacuum to be repaired, for instance) but it was still an odd thing to see on a crowded street, particularly given the garish color of the machine.
Both of these little vignettes were made all the more arresting by the drizzle that has, as of just moments ago, become an all-out rain.
May I pause to pontificate*: Old people doing weird things are so much better to watch than young or middle-aged folks doing weird things. It has something to do with the way in which we tend to attribute great wisdom and calm to the elderly and something to do, at least for me, with a strong desire to believe that the freedom to discard basic social norms afforded to the very young will resurface when we reach our twilight years. When I reach a certain age (perhaps 76) I, for one, have every intention of chain-smoking in public places (which by then will surely be entirely illegal), owning a veritable mountain of hairless cats, yelling at passersby whatever comes to mind as relevant to them or to me, drinking gin martinis at all hours and eating anything I want whenever the hell I want it. Considering today’s observations, I also think it an excellent idea to traverse a large city leaving a trail of breadcrumbs in my wake–just to see what that feels like.
*It seems to me somewhat superfluous to write this phrase in a first-person journalistic endeavor such as a blog. Of course I’m pontificating. That’s all I do when I blog. (Caveat: that’s sort of all I do anywhere.)