The Elderly and Change.

2 08 2010

“……it’s not the same today of course, since all that women’s libbers. I feel sorry for men today.”

After a fine evening of space cake, live music and intoxicating corsetry I found myself in a park with friends waiting for a celebratory fry up in a cafe. We sat next to an old lady who was taking in the fresh air and quietly watching the world go by, a perfectly reasonable way to while away the twilight years.

As is the custom of old-timers she imparted her views on the world to the rest of us, whether we were listening or not. It is a stereotype of those advanced in years to complain about everything that ever happened but this is one which is solidly based in fact. Personally, I would hate to have lived a long life only to find fault with everything and be bitter towards all. I feel it such as shame to review your existence and the world in which you have lived and find nothing to be happy about.

I would much rather have younger generations gathered round me in my twilight years (in many hundreds of years time of course) and amaze them with tales of wonder and adventure in the world before they were even born, to be smiling and content with my long and eventful life and my craggy old face to still have a touch of rosy cheeked frivolity rather than one of a bulldog chewing a wasp.

We choose to indulge these old timers in their unwitting portrayal of Grandpa Simpson out of respect though (espect for still being alive I would imagine. We put up with this sour-faced whinging  because otherwise berating an 80 year old woman in a park for her right wing opinions would reflect badly on ourselves, like heckling a child for saying idiotic things. Society dictates that people in their declining years should be allowed some peace, even if they say offensive and bigoted opinions. To ignore or patronise the sort of comments that would be cause for verbal duelling in a person half their age.

……..don’t reckon much to that Cameron. I don’t why I vote Tory anymore!

Ah! But here is the problem. These people still have the vote, their numbers are growing and their influence in our lives is still very strong even though they are unable to unwilling to view today’s world with anything other than bitterness, scorn and bewilderment. Ideally we should be hearing their wise counsel, be given guidence on how to steer the world based on their own experience but with such a fast moving world (although for me, not fast moving enough) many have become irrelevant to the times, a sack of ballast holding us back from making the changes we have to make for a better world.

In generations past the old timers could advise the young’uns “don’t eat those red berries on that tree, I did when I was younger and had the shits for two days!” Now, you are unlikely to hear grandma saying “I don’t rate those Apple products, the lack of open source alternatives in their operating systems means they have a monopoly over their users and can fleece them like country rubes!” It must be a terrible thing to become totally irrelevant in the world, to be sidelined and forgotten about like an old betamax video player. I live in fear of the day when I have no fucking clue what young people are talking about online, (and I hope Urban Dictionary keeps up it’s epic service FTW.)

But there are some old people who can balance the wisdom of their years and still apply it to today’s problems. Take Tony Benn for example, who still commands an audience at Glastonbury with his pipe soaked criticisms of the abuse of power and advice on how Britain should have gone without blaming things on immigrants or people having too much freedom. And let’s not forget dear old Ivy Bean, who until she passed away was Twitter’s oldest user at 104 after having become dissatisfied with Facebook.

The trick then is to MAKE yourself relevant to today’s world. Not to be afraid of the changes around you but to look at them and give them a go, try and engage with them. The Internet should be ideal for this, it doesn’t involve moving a lot and with a bit of practice and logical  thinking isn’t too hard to get around the basics. If Ivy Bean can get on with twitter than so can the rest of the vast grey army who otherwise sit alone in their houses with no-one to talk to (or at.)

With the annonymity of the internet the oldies could inadvertantly strike up a friendship with “brown people” and learn that they aren’t foreign devils but human beings with much the same motivation and hopes as they. Grey folk could learn about the world around them, see how it is changing and feel a part of it again rather than stare blankly out of retirement home window into oblivion. Do not be afraid of things being different to how they used to be, it is in our very nature to adapt and survive to new situations. It is this ability to acclimatise to new environments which has enabled our species to dominate the planet (for better and worse.)

…..and the police are useless, half of them our poofs anyway!

I had to force a pained smile to this, because of the aforementioned social stigma of heckling an old woman in park. What I would have like to have said was “as a half poof myself I welcome more shirtlifters in uniform. Nothing gets me harder than the sight of nice clean cock throbbing out from a pair of policeman’s pants. Plus if he goes bottom I can give him one in ass from the family of  Ian Tomlinson!”