First thing I noticed was her little dark green worker-man pants, the kind Pap Morningstar used to wear. She was tiny, and the pants were tiny, little miniature worker-man pants. They came to her ankles, and little white white socks peeked out the bottom.. serious shoes, yard shoes… White hair, curling all spazzy all over her head, and what seemed an odd choice for someone her age, an OldNavyAeropostleAmericanEagleforgetwhichonetheyreallthesame tshirt, which she was swimming in, her bony, stringy little arms sticking out at all angles…
I got out of the car and approached. She had several tables set out, with old Halloween decorations, some Christmas, some garden stuff, some glassware, odds n ends.. I was seriously considering the garden hose reel she had displayed up front..
We talked a little, about this and that, and then she zeroed in on her main message: she leaned over the table, her glasses tipped to her nose, one eye all rheumy and rolling and strange colored where it shoulda been white… peered over the top of her glasses, fixing me with her good eye, and she spat out, “you know, they bought me that damn porch swing over there, you know I don’t have time to be sittin on no damn porch swing, I’m 82 YEARS OLD, I got things to do!”
I chuckled and didn’t say the obvious thing that I’m sure everyone says to her, I thought it, but sometimes I try not to say the obvious thing.. because I’m sure she was used to people exclaiming, “Wow you look great for 82!” I knew she expected it, and when I didn’t say it, she tried harder:
“AND I got that lounge chair on my porch, had it for years, I don’t sit in that either, I got things to do! I’m 82 YEARS OLD! I don’t have my garden in yet, I’m behind this year! I don’t have time to be sittin in no damn chair!” She glared and pointed at the offending, rather innocuous looking chaise lounge on the porch. .She had it strewn with stuff, no one could sit with all that stuff on it, her disdain written all over the poor thing..
I still did not say the thing she was waiting, expecting, to hear. Probably because when people say it to me, especially my husband, when he says “You look great, FOR 50”, he has to add that “for 50” part, and I think, no dude, I look great for any damn age, you don’t have to qualify it… So that’s the other reason I didn’t say it to her.
I think I laughed with her, even though she wasn’t really laughing, she was kinda honked off about it all… I mumbled something about yeah, no time for sittin… and as I walked back to my car, I thought about saying, “hey, you can still get your garden in, right, but that clock is ticking, tick tick tick…” but you don’t say that sorta thing to any woman over 40, you don’t say “tick tick tick”, you just don’t, and I caught it before it came out, so that was good.