Sunday, October 31, 2010

When I am an old woman, I shall...

We most of us know how this poem begins.  "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple, and a red hat that doesn't go, and that doesn't suit me."

When I was in college, my friend Linda and I would gleefully recite this poem, Warning, an anthem to finally getting to an age where you are fully, freely, joyously and eccentrically yourself and stop worrying about being responsible and dignified. I have seen flocks of grey-haired members of local Red Hat societies, identifiable by their conspicuous headwear in varying shades of crimson.

Yesterday I was coming home from work and waiting at the light to cross Sheridan before going down my street. I had on my iPod. An older woman was waiting at the curb; she appeared in her early 60s, dark, coiffed hair, makeup - pretty, in a Liza Minelli way. Animatedly stepping to and fro. She wore a coat with a leopard-print collar, shiny black knee boots, and a red hat on her head. I wondered whether she belonged to a Red Hat club. She turned and said something to me, so I removed my ear buds and smiled at her. "Pardon?"

"I have to pee," she said, stepping from side to side.

"Then I hope the light changes very soon for you," I said.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along the public railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.

And by way of casual conversation, tell people when I need to pee.

Absolutely marvelous.


the perrins said...

I love your posts.

JC said...

Gosh thanks! I'm blushing!