Friday, March 23, 2012

What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been

Not long ago I passed one of those milestone birthdays where people say, gosh, I didn't know she was that old, and one's hairdresser says, gallantly, you certainly don't look it. They may be serious, I don't know; when I was younger than I am now I used to look younger than I was then. "You don't look that old" isn't always a compliment. Sometimes it means, geez, your face doesn't reflect any knowledge whatever of real life.

And yet here I am, having passed this milestone. I ought to know about real life now. My life has been as real as the next guy's, I guess. Where is my wisdom? When am I going to achieve the wisdom of age?

There are several ways for geezers to deal with life successfully as it moves on around them.

One can become Andy Rooney, and complain about everything all the time, in as charming a way as one can manage. I could do that. My feelings for the twenty-first century and its folkways are well known.

One can assume that one now knows everything worth knowing, and heap one's knowledge and advice on the heads of one's cringing children, grandchildren, and friends (if any), in the manner of the Dowager Duchess of Whatever. It's probably too late for me to fully develop that as a personal style.

One can turn off one's hearing aid, go a little batty and spend one's days in a sweet pink cloud. My hearing is too keen for that, and I have no real tolerance for sweetness. The batty thing I can do with very little trouble.

One can threaten to write one's memoirs.

I could totally write my memoirs. Because my life, while not in the least influential, in the grand scheme of things, or in any way inspirational, has been weird. Now and then I'll tell some story to my friends and acquaintances and one of them will say, "Kate, you should write your memoirs." Some of those stories are too good to let die. The time I mustered out to be a guard at Trenton State Prison. That's one of my best stories. And there are others.

We'll see how it goes. Someday I may become too batty to suffer embarrassment, and I might just let 'er rip. If I knew you in the old days, tremble. You know who you are. Meanwhile I'm writing a YA novel in the hope of connecting to a new generation. Nobody I ever knew is in it.

Kate Gallison


  1. Kate, I read this with much interest, as many of us think of ourselves and feel muc less than our "age". And at the Y I hear lots of talk about this topic - it is very much on the minds of many New Yorkers. After I saw your blog I happened to turn on CNN and got the Queen at her Diamond Jubilee at Parliament - and of course the two things started fermenting a blog.. so -- soon, there will be blog on my comments on you and E R 2.. tjs

  2. Sure, Kate, write the damn thing. You never know what you'll find out. Damn, you're an inspiration! I'm gonna start mine...tomorrow.