I don’t hate old women. I really don’t. The problem is there’s way too many of them in Buenos Aires. More so than any other place I’ve ever lived in. Too many of them slowing the whole city down, curled frames, ridiculously sized eyeglasses, the indignant air of entitlement. The number has increased exponentially in the last couple of years. Rushing down a street is no longer an option. Being in a hurry inevitably means you’re going to be end up assaulting an octogenarian or frustrated & late. They crowd the buses, too. Just a couple of days ago I was sitting near the back of a bus and one particularly bold-faced old lady with enormous shopping bags walked in, right past the seats near the front that were reserved for the elderly or otherwise challenged, past a row of empty seats, and right next to me, looming in my periphery, expecting me to get up and give her my spot. And when I would’t, she just decided to keep standing there, staring at me, out of spite. It was a standoff. It was a duel. It was outright war. And I wasn’t going to budge. Because this was not just about this particular seat in this particular bus in this specific day, but for a larger good. This was for every young person whose rights were trampled on by the elderly. This is for every old person who abused their geriatric condition to brazenly upstream the young in a taxi line. This is for every time I waited in the supermarket queue for some fastidious grandmother sorting her change. I was not moving. And after about 15 or 20 minutes, she sighed in exasperation (loud enough for me to hear it) and walked back to the empty seats near the front. I got up and rang for the stop, victorious.
And I savored the victory. Just what do they think gives them the right? The nerve. The nerve. So you lived a few years. So you survived. So fucking what. Anybody can hang on to dear life long enough to keep themselves from falling prey to the hazards of the world. That does not give you license to be an inconsiderate bitch to anyone who happens to be young and zesty. This is why this small victory seemed so big: it was a resounding “NO”, a finger wagging in the face of an age group that came to expect everybody to bend over backwards for them. This victory was sweet. Nevermind the fact that the standoff caused me to get off about 11 or 12 stops after I actually needed to, leaving me disoriented and lost for the next hour or so. It was absolutely worth it. This was a victory to the cause. The old lady regime must be overthrown. I actually don’t know whether there’s less old ladies in Colombia or if we just keep them locked up, where they belong.
I’m sorry. I need to compose myself. I’m just… just… ugh.
Click this embedded player to listen to Dan Deacon’s brilliant “Get Older”, which is not only a sick track with a brilliant (and post-appropriate) title, but also a reasonable musical approximation of my mental state post-standoff: