Why are people so afraid of old people? Two times in one week it was mentioned to me that elderly people were seen in my apartment building. It was told to me in the same manner you would whisper to someone that you think you just saw a ghost or worse, someone wearing stone washed jeans with a matching jacket .
Yes, they do (gasp) exist in my building along with people in their single digits, teens, twenties, thirties, forties and above too.
So, why are people so afraid of the elderly?
I think many of us see the elderly as a not so gentle reminder of what is to come. A reminder of grim reaper knocking at their door. An ambulance coming to the building thus creating a new vacancy. A person who will complain about the noise in your apartment ruining their mid-day nap. Someone who will stop you in the hallway to discuss their bunions in great detail and tell you that you are a perfect match for their grandchild, then pull out a picture of a rather unattractive person who is dressed for the 1970′s.
My friends, these are all stereotypes.
The truth is, my building is a microcosm of the world we live in. Every age group is represented. There are people above 70. There is also a high percentage of 20 something’s who can be found in the gym flexing their pecs and showing off their 6 pack abs (yes, I looked), and by the pool sunning themselves. They are the ones leaving the building at 10 pm on a Thursday night because it’s “college night”. Then they come home early the next day and do the obligatory “walk of shame”.
Then you have your stay at home moms who you can see during the workday pushing their strollers and chasing their little ones as they almost knock people over and stopping them from pushing allll the buttons on the elevator as they go run errands. (The button thing always happens when I’m late for work)
Then you have the thirty and forty and fifty something’s who are usually seen in the building before 9 am and after 5pm rushing to and from work. They only exist in the building after hours.
Weekends you will see a conglomeration of everyone piled together trying to get along. The small children splashing in the pool to the annoyance of the elderly women who complain to the lifeguard, “shouldn’t it be adult swim now?” The fight for the shaded chaise lounges with the umbrellas begins right at pool opening where the elderly usually win because they showed up on time and they deserve a little shade.
I have yet to win those shaded chairs but one day I will. Even if I have to go at 2am and set up yellow caution tape and orange cones around those chairs, I will do what I have too do to reserve them.
Twice people told me they came to my building during the workday and saw elderly people in the lobby, got scared and ran away.
Perhaps it was because everyone else was at work or school?
What are they going to do to you anyways? Chase you with their walker? Hit you over the head with their canes? I don’t condone violence but that would definitely make my daily walk through the lobby more action packed and exciting. Of course I would never make it to my apartment in time before a good caning because that damn electronic key never ever ever works on the first try. Sigh…I miss keys.
I don’t have all the answers. All I can say is the same way you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, you shouldn’t judge a building by who is chilling in the lobby at 1pm on a Wednesday.
Remember, one day you will be old and fabulous too