I am discovering that living in a college town is quite compatible with aging introversion. I am now sitting in a funky, hometown bakery eating a cream cheese walnut cookie, listening to blues/jazz. As expected, I am surrounded by young people who are talking with friends, studying or surfing the web. There is no one my age here and I feel fine about it. I went to a community bookstore and found two used books that I assume nobody in the world is reading but me.
After thirty years, I have no memories of going to college here. This probably has something to do with having been an “older student” who never lived in a dorm or participated in any college-related activities other than going to classes. I lived with a partner off campus who was in his mid-30’s and worked full-time, so I missed out on the whole college experience. Every once in a while I pass by a street that sounds familiar and try to remember why.
There are three kinds of weather here, pre-rain, rain and post-rain. The little bit of sun that is poking through the clouds today prompted me to leave the house and mingle with the natives. By selling my home and choosing to live in a rented room, I have pretty much broken ranks with any tribal connection I may have had with my age group. Instead of going on expensive cruises to Europe or remodeling the vacation home, I am living in limbo, waiting for the next beat.
I don’t expect anyone to understand what I’m doing; I don’t know myself. When I told my mother that I moved into a room in someone’s home, she screamed, “You did what? If you don’t want to buy a house right away, can’t you at least get an apartment?” My, my, how is she going to explain it to the family. Her “way-too-old-to-be-doing-that” daughter is off committing her next weird crime. She will sit and ponder, once again, why I didn’t turn out like my cousin Joyce, who became a stewardess, married a rich man and had three sons.
Maybe I have a cognitive deficiency when it comes to age. Yes, let’s call it the dysfunctional aging syndrome, a malaise characterized by random left turns into the distant past, where one does incoherent things that should have been done 40 years earlier. If I take what I am doing now to its outer extreme, I may end up a party animal, dancing the tango downtown with a man dressed like a woman. Many years ago, I visited one of my old aunts who, at 75, took up hitchhiking. She would go out on the highway and hitch rides as far as she could go. When no one would take her any further she would call her daughter to come and pick her up.
DAS is in my genes.