I’m getting older. Not a shocker...we all are. I get that. But I’m getting older without my knowledge, like I’m a passive victim to the slowly growing numbers of gray hairs (on my head, chest, eyebrows, ears...I could go on) and face wrinkles taking over that image in the mirror. Most of the time, to be quite honest, I am fine with this. I can age gracefully, and will do so happily. But sometimes forces beyond our control throw our reluctant aging in our faces, and make us wince at the effects of the creeping hands of time.Case in point: concerts. I like going to shows. Live music shows. Smaller the better, in my opinion. Trouble is, smaller means cheaper. Cheaper means more affordable to those without means (and 401ks and mortgages and pensions and full-coverage health insurance...hey! Aging is suddenly sounding nicer!). Those without means are usually younger than those with means.
And thus the rub. Consider the following:
- “Hey, aren’t you a teacher?”
- “Did you teach at _____ high school?”
- “Yep. Still do. Were you in one of my classes?”
- “No. But I think my aunt had you as a teacher, and then my older sister.”
- “Oh...so, do you like this band?”
- “Yeah, they’re pretty cool. Is one of them, like, your son or something?”
So...dear friend, Christian. You, of the same age as I. I beseech you...what advice have you for this aging show-goer? Do I need to call it quits? Is it time for season tickets to the symphony where the seats are cushy and you can nap while the musicians play, and then you go out for a “nightcap” consisting of tea and perhaps a trifle?
Christian: Yes, I totally feel your geriatric pain on this one. I too love going to shows, or as you call them “music shows”, and also can sometimes feel a bit out of place due to my advanced age, or as I like to call it, my “state-of-the-art” age.
One thing you want to make sure you do is dress appropriately. Since there are a lot of young hipster types here in the Portland scene, you want to make sure you fit in. They mostly dress in dark colors so you should do the same. I recommend dressing entirely in black. Head to toe. That way you will just blend in with everyone else and not cause any additional unwanted attention to you or your age, that, say... wearing a shockingly bright lime green sweater that says “I LOVE THE 80’s” on it would. Not that I would know.
Second, and most importantly, never talk to anyone while you are there. Your first mistake was talking to this guy. Once he approached you, you should have made every effort to end the conversation as quickly as possible. Here’s how it should have gone:
- “Hey, aren’t you a teacher?”
- “But didn’t you teach at _____ high school?”
- “No. That was someone else that wasn’t me.”
- “But I think my aunt had you as a teacher, and then my older sister.”
- “They sound like whores.”
At this point he most likely walks away, thus allowing you to avoid any awkwardness.
Also, I know we are not quite 40 yet, but people are now saying that 40 is the new 30. And I think they also are saying that 30 is the new 20 so by the transitive property and protractors this means we are now the new new 20. Which means you are probably actually younger than that snot nosed kid. You can’t argue with math.
Pat: Whores. I hadn’t thought about that. That’s a good one. Next time!
I don’t know what sort of hoodoo you did with those words up there, but thanks, because now I have this weirdly affirming confidence that math makes me younger than other people at the shows--music shows--I go to. I like your dark religion, Christian!
I don’t really have a problem with being close to 40 (or 30...or 20...or preteen...how exactly do those protractors work?). What I struggle with is when others see me as being close to 40, and they see what I’m doing as inappropriate. Is going to a show--a music show--against the law for near 40 year olds? Is playing on a swingset alone at a crowded playground “inappropriate” for someone my age? Is it socially taboo to go to storytime at the library for a bookreading while my kids browse the stacks?
These social norms are too damn constricting, man!
By the way, at a friend’s party last night--a friend I have known for many many years and who is my same age, as are many of our collective friends, most of whom were also at the party--as I walked into the kitchen from the backyard to get a refresher on my drink, what was I assaulted with but a, “Hey, I know you! You were a teacher at my school. Is it weird being at a party where kids who could have been in your class are partying too? I think that would be weird!”
Christian: Yes that does seem weird. I usually only get stuff like “Hey, aren’t you that cool guy?” or “Hey, you’re that cool guy aren’t you?”, so it’s hard for me to relate.
But from what I’m hearing, you sort of feel like this guy right?
You said that you struggle with others seeing you as doing something inappropriate for your age, but are they? Or is it you that feel like maybe you are doing something inappropriate for your age?
I say this because a friend of mine who is definitely not me, was thinking about this the other day and realized that the reason I might feel this way is because when I was younger and saw someone older at something like this it seemed odd to me. Of course, my friend, was thinking maybe I was just projecting my naive opinions about age from my youth onto others and that in fact others don’t care at all and it’s actually just me that feels self-conscious for no good reason. At least that’s what my friend was thinking. He’s very smart and super good looking.
Have you actually had other people comment or suggest that you are too old to be going to these shows or are you just assuming they feel that way? Maybe it’s you that needs to let go.*
Pat: No. They say they think it’s great that I get out and do stuff that they never think of. Or that they never have time or energy for. And they kind of say it in a way that sounds like they might not really mean it, like they’re really just trying to get out of an awkward situation.
Thanks, Christian. Now you have me doubting my friends AND wondering if I really look like that guy at some obscure Rock en Español concert.
* Don’t exactly know what this sentence is supposed to mean but it sounds really good placed here.