Archive for February, 2010

The Single Senior Dances on Stage with Los Lobos

February 25, 2010

The Single Senior Dances on Stage with Los Lobos

            On Saturday night I attended a Los Lobos concert with Mr. Liberal Democrat. Los Lobos has won Grammys but you are excused if you don’t know of them. They did the soundtrack for the movie La Bamba. The first show had sold out but the late show had about one hundred and twenty people, seated at tables, with a dance floor by the stage. We went to the 11p.m .late show. We were a bit worried about staying up. That certainly tells you we’re no kids. They start their evenings out at eleven.

            The venue was The Compound in north Scottsdale. The crowd was mixed but tended toward us seniors. Los Lobos has been around for thirty years. We were seated next to a table of three women who were a bit older than us. Their hairstyles were French twists with teasing on the top. They were definitely weekly beauty shop ladies. During the concert they danced around while seated. Most of the audience got on the dance floor. Singles, couples, everyone. Were these women held back from doing this because they were brought up during a time when women had to wait for a man to ask them before they ventured out on a public dance floor? I certainly had no such inhibitions. When Los Lobos played “La Bamba” at the end of the concert, I went on stage, with about four other women, and danced with them.

            This got me thinking about inhibitions. I’ve noticed that some people get more inhibited as they age, and some get less so. I know there’s a school of thought that when you get to a certain age, you can express your opinions freely. I’ve noticed it about my friends’ parents. They feel free to criticize not only their children, but anyone else in the physical vicinity. I was at a Christmas party a few years ago with my mother, who lived with me. She was in the middle stage of dementia. My friend’s mother, a few years younger than my mother, came up to us and pronounced that she was glad she was able to live on her own and not burden her children. I cringed. I don’t know whether my mother caught the snipe. I replied that some of our parents are not a burden, but a joy. The woman’s insensitivity still annoys me. Other friends’ mothers have directly criticized me. I don’t think you earn a pass on civility and politeness with age.     

Some things are less inhibited as we age. When I was younger I was very self conscious about my body. I thought it had to be perfect. Now that everything is yielding to gravity, I am less inhibited about my body. I am unwilling to pay to make it look younger. I do work out, but it doesn’t stop the aging process. When I look at the old pictures of me in a bathing suit, I can’t understand why I was so obsessed with comparing myself to perfect bodies. I looked pretty darned good! Too bad I couldn’t appreciate it. Now I can get changed in a locker room without hiding my body. I wear a bathing suit when I want to go swimming. I’m much more comfortable in my own body.

Sex is less inhibited. We don’t have to worry about getting pregnant or if the other kids will think we’re “easy.” I do hope all of you single seniors are using protection because we still can catch STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases.)

I’m up for new adventures. I took a trip to Costa Rica on my sixtieth birthday. My friends and I defied our fear of heights and went zipping on cables above the rain forest. I’m into Why Not? Instead of Why?

Is being a smart, independent, and powerful woman a detriment in a relationship?

February 18, 2010

Is being a smart, independent, and powerful woman a detriment in a relationship?

 

            A friend said she sees the handwriting on the wall her a two and a half year relationship with her wealthy and powerful beau. She says he wants what he wants and doesn’t like that she has a life and a career. She told me today that this happened to her before. She was engaged to a rich, smart, and powerful man. When she did something he didn’t like, he kicked her to the curb after three years. I thought if you were a powerful, independent, and smart woman, you would match well with a fellow with the same attributes. She says not.

            I can’t give my friend any advice. I’ve never dated a wealthy man. It’s sad that being powerful, smart, and independent is a detriment for her relationship. They love each other.

            I look back at my parents’ marriage. They were both smart but my mother was not independent until her forties. My father adapted because they were the quintessential love birds.

            My first husband was smart and liked that I was too. He liked my independence until we turned thirty. I was shocked when he wanted this card carrying NOW member to become a country clubber. Not that he wanted to support the family. He wanted me to work, dress like I stepped out of a magazine, take care of the two girls, refer clients, and fit in at a country club. That wasn’t me, Babe. Then or now.

            My second husband was no towering intellect but he was smart enough. He liked to pose as an anti-intellectual. Some of my friends were horrified that I would marry a philistine. I explained to them I could get intellectual stimulation from them. I was looking for passion and emotional security in a mate.

            I’d rather not have a relationship than have to pretend to be someone I’m not. I may be destined to stay single. At least I like myself and Sparky loves having a smart, powerful owner. He would prefer that I was less independent and more of a homebody so he would get more attention. Tough luck, Sparky. Two out of three ain’t bad.

 

           

Feeling Powerless

February 12, 2010

Feeling Powerless

            When I was young I thought I could change anything. I could stop the Vietnam War, help cure illiteracy, get equal rights for women, etc. And I did help do some of those things.

This feeling of power diminished as I grew older and learned more about the world. Political figures disappointed me. Prejudice didn’t disappear. I couldn’t make my sons love to read. I couldn’t stop one of my sons from being a heroin addict. I couldn’t make my own life “happily ever after.”

Now that the aging process is bearing down on me, I feel a new wave of powerlessness. I awake to find new aches and pains. I have “senior moments” when I forget why I came into a room, or someone’s name, or the word for something. This is especially scary for me as my mother had dementia. I try to calm myself by remembering that we noticed her memory decline when she was eighty, so I probably have some years before I lose it altogether.

I’ve written before about adult problem children. This is the area where I feel the most powerless. My son is in Tent City of the Maricopa County Jail. He called me earlier this week and told me he was very sick with a sore throat and congestion. He had put in to see a doctor and had an appointment. The duty officers ignored the medical hold and he worked instead. I figured I could always call a television station and complain. They seemed to love running stories of any kind about Sheriff Joe. I decided to put it off a few days and see what happened.

He called today and said he had seen a doctor who had irrigated his ears, and reported that nasty stuff came out. He had a prescription for Ibuprofen and an antibiotic. Now what he needed was $30.00 deposited to his inmate account so he could get the medicine. The jail doesn’t pay for medicine? I know I’m biased because he’s my son, but I think that’s terrible. What about other inmates who don’t have a mother on the outside?

This afternoon I went down to Tent City (the formal name is In-Tents) to give him some money. It wasn’t visiting day, so I had to use the kiosk in the lobby. It cost me $45 to put $34 on his account. Eleven dollars was a “processing fee.” The fee is a percentage, based on the amount of money you want to put in the account. I think a 33% fee is outrageous. Again, I’m powerless to do anything about it. He needed the medicine and I was going out of town early the next morning. The way to deal with this powerlessness is to keep a journal about my experiences as a mother of son who ran afoul of the law. I don’t know what I’ll do with the documentation, but it makes me feel like I’m doing something.

Sharing Stories

February 7, 2010

Sharing Stories

One of the best things about dating is that you get to hear new stories. 

One of the ways you get to know another person is by sharing stories of your lives. There are lots of upsides of this phenomenon. Your own best stories get a new and appreciate audience. There are serendipitous moments when both of you have a story on the same subject. Today a date and I both shared our pigeon stories.

PETA fans beware here. I am from the New York City area and I do think of pigeons as flying rats. I told my date about the morning I was taking my youngest son, then six, to school. A pigeon flew right into my windshield. I didn’t try to hit it but I was not going to cause an accident to avoid it. The pigeon bounced off the windshield. My son took off his seat belt and turned around in the back seat.

 “You killed a bird, Mom!” he cried.

“It wasn’t a real bird, it was a pigeon,” I said. “Put your seat belt back on.”

“It was a living thing and you killed it!” he said as he refastened the safety belt.

“I saved our lives by not swerving into opposing traffic.” I refused to feel guilty.

“There was no traffic,” he snorted. “You’re a killer!”

“Sweetie, in life there are prey and predators. It’s the cycle of life. Remember the Lion King?”

Citing his favorite movie made him pause in his accusations. “So you’re a hyena?” he asked.

Some arguments are best left unfinished.

My date told a story about how a pigeon rammed into his windshield. (I guess those birds really are stupid.) The pigeon did two complete turns, bounced on the roof of the car twice, and disappeared. Later, when he got out of his car, he realized that the bird had lodged between his bumper and the car. He had to get a plastic bag and dispose of the bird in the dumpster. He did not feel duty-bound to go the funeral and burial route.

In the case of single seniors, swapping stories means we get to hear many tales of divorce since some of us have been married once, but most twice. These tales reveal quite a bit about the teller as well as giving you insight into your own history and attitudes. It’s too easy to write off a guy as bitter. It’s better to hear how he feels he was wronged. Other men take on all the blame. That tells you something, too. If they cheated on their wives, that is important information for me.

It’s also informative to discuss stories about your children. I’m not looking for advice, but I do listen to see if I can pick up pearls of wisdom my date rarely knows he is bestowing. The universality of projecting our own dreams on our children is somewhat chilling and rarely effective. If a fellow has little contact with his children, that’s a red flag to me. I do assume he has issues about resolving problems. I see my kids almost weekly, so he is bound to feel left out if he’s not close with his family.

The best times are when we share silly stories about ourselves. This always involves a laugh fest. Some of these stories remain with me after the guys have moved on. I can still giggle when I think about them.

Social Occasions and the Single Senior

February 3, 2010

Social Occasions and the Single Senior

            In the past week I’ve weathered several social occasions.  At my first stop in California I stayed with my longtime friend and her husband to celebrate her birthday. Another old friend of ours was visiting too. She is also single. I guess since we’ve known each other since junior high school, we don’t think in “couple” mode. We went out one night to a bar to listen to live music. There were about twelve of us, almost all couples. The women got up and danced with each other as well as the dancing with their husbands. I had some great conversations with several people.

            The other occasion was in a different location in northern California. It was a bat mitzvah with all the surrounding hoopla. I had met many of the adults the year before at a wedding in the same family. Somehow it seems a little weird to get all dressed up without a date. I guess I’m not worried about impressing other people. It would have been totally inappropriate to ask Mr. Right Now to accompany me. The event was out of town and would have been a major expenditure on his part.

I always considered myself gregarious, but I do get shy at dressy events when everyone else is a couple. This year one of the married women was there without her husband. We hung out together, making me more comfortable.

There are so many single people, especially seniors, I wonder why being a couple is still the norm. I guess it has to do with social conditioning. I feel fine eating out by myself, going to the movies by myself, shopping by myself, going to a museum by myself. I still have to get over the hump of formal social situations.