Friday, March 30, 2012

when i grow up, i want to be an old man

some of you may have heard me say this, but when i grow up and older, Ithink I want to be an old man. I was reminded today when I was at the hot spring baths here in the aptly named Banos in Ecuador. Half immersed in a concoction of naturally occurring mineral hot waters, trying to stall an oncoming cold, i look around, and see groups of men from their 60s to 80s, stand around, chatting, lightly arguing and sharing news of the happenings around town. they are laughing, kidding around a bit, making jokes about each other and the fact that this pool seems to be the old man pool (i contest this, and they just say little girl, we're in here sharing it with you so we can get a little younger), i guess lightly flirting in a way that is sort of just endearing (does this sound odd?!) and having a good time.

I've seen this a lot here - they seem to mostly congregate around coffee shops and bars, sipping their caffecitos, donned in those caps just talking about everything and anything. I am reminded fondly to my german grandfather, he loved taking every opportunity to have coffee and cake sittings at the local shopping centres, galleries and parks and he also used to kid around a bit, saying silly words and just being loveable .
in my mind, groups of older women seem to be more inside, and seem to talk and complain more about their ailments and how dangerous everything is. (well here anyway) I remember observing a cafe in Buenos Aires an at the time the person I was discussing this with pointed out something interesting:

men have traditionally spent most of their working life outside the home and usually with other men. whereas women have been in the home more taking care of the household and children. so it makes sense that in
retirement the men continue to socialise with other men outside the home, and thus I seem to see them out in their new workplaces, the cafes, hot springs, park benches and other more social areas. but to me it's also in the way they talk. it's the lighter conversation, the animation, the jokes. I really like this.

and that's why when I grow up, i want to be an old man.

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