It wasn’t until I returned to the U.S. from Venezuela in 2011 that socializing with people my own age and younger didn’t seem strange to me. Prior to that, with my husband nearly two decades older than I was, and most of my significant relationships in that ballpark, it was not unusual for me to be the youngest person in the room. I’ve spent a lot of time around older people and I hadn’t had a problem being around them until recently, living in a White middle class retirement community, somewhat by accident.
Generally, speaking, in both sorts of groups, my life experiences are beyond the realm of understanding and therefore a difficult subject for small talk.
My two sets of grandparents were part of the most privileged generation of grandparents ever with middle class success, savings, pensions, lofty leisure time, vacations, and extended lifespan. My parents on the other hand largely struggled until my mother completed her masters and delved into her career, at which point all the benefits of being a member of one of the most privileged and coddled workforces (the NEA) kicked in.
While growing up, I was expected to be deferential to all of my elders pro forma as well as a means of maintaining the image that we were middle class, even if I personally was a class below, as well as sort of a privileged intelligentsia. I was essentially the poor relation until I left and made something out of myself, but at the least I could be entertaining. Now I am merely expected to listen quietly while I get to be the beneficiary of stories which largely have no relevance to my life. Of course, I do, but, it’s not something I particularly enjoy. I certainly do not owe this class of people anything but pro forma respect and polite feigned interest doesn’t cost me anything.
It was fully expected by my family that I would not only make something of myself professionally but would marry professionally such as to make up for the slack in their efforts but yet allow them to take credit for my own accomplishments with their friends and relatives. After all I was “brilliant” with extraordinary test scores and most importantly attractive, never mind poorly raised and otherwise somewhat socially maladept until I became a teenager and started socializing with adults, but they weren’t the sort of adults my family had in mind.
Too many people were born the year that I was born such that there were not only fewer opportunities for everyone but Social Security has always been a sketchy possibility. Pensions have also gone extinct largely. However, I made my money and well enough to retire young. I just married the wrong person, not having much in common with the “middle class,” and therefore turning to an exotic who turned out to be a criminal, such that I am now the poor relation once again.
However it isn’t likely that I am going to change my stripes such as to attempt to meld in with a world with which I have so little in common such as to perhaps be mistaken for either a servant or a predator myself.
Returning to the U.S. after an effective 17 year absence, it would seem that today’s septuagenarians have not yet gotten the message that the future for someone like me could be bleak, and so insensitive comments are the norm. I certainly don’t expect charity but neither do I feel inclined to cater to them. They all have family about whom they brag—a safe subject for most. I don’t know what to say except for affirmations. It’s awkward.
My future is not only unknown but is at the mercy of a host of events now beyond my control. With any luck one or more of them will bear fruit at which point I will be in the uncomfortable position of having to make some difficult choices, whether positive (in my favor) or negative. I wish there was someone who I could trust, who had similar life experiences and values, who I could turn to for advice and comfort on these matters. But there is only God, and perhaps a few gentlemen circling around but so far as yet failing to inspire more than simple pleasantries from me. I wouldn’t accept an offer of protection and ownership from either of them even if another offer was forthcoming.
I must be a fool for turning down such an offer from a fool.
The population I am actually living among now is not ripe for romantic prospects and it’s not about the age difference, given my experiences, but rather my alienation from White middle class culture, and especially the culture of their generation that romantic rebels from my past effectively escaped, even if there are not many of them around left today.
The world killed them with envy, for the most part.
In terms of safe subjects in this crowd that I live among, there are none. Politics, religion, sex, and nutrition are more my speed in terms of conversational fodder. Otherwise, I would just assume excuse myself. When it comes to the stodgy health concerns of people who have lived their lives safely and middle-of-the-road, they’ve already sworn allegiance to their doctors and so I have a hard time listening to pharmacological and nutritional regimens which I disagree with. At the same time, perhaps I could feel a vindictive glee that they’re all diminishing the quality of their lives albeit extending them through chemistry and compliance, but I don’t. What would be the point? It’s sad and depressing. I don’t wish them ill, I just don’t want to have to socialize with them beyond mere pleasantries. I don’t mesh well with the statin generation.
Nowadays, life extension through any means necessary is the new religion particularly when one has great insurance. I guess that they’re neither in any hurry to either live life to the fullest or meet their makers. They’ll probably outlive me even if they forget their own names in the process, or worse fail to garner the concern they assume they deserve from their descendants.
Will they live to see the world that their kids and grandkids are going to inherit or is reality too difficult for them to grasp? I don’t believe that I owe these strangers I live among in retirement city anything nor do I expect any sort of return on my investment of time with them. However, I don’t turn down brief socialization for the sake of a diversion in my routine. Besides, perhaps I’ll one day figure out how to navigate this world.
The idea that I ought to celebrate the accomplishments of their female relatives as some sort of family virtue astounds me. It is as if they’re all in desperate need of validation of the virtue and success of this strategy. My own professional success and then abject failure at marriage doesn’t even spark a diversion in this narrative. I guess that they just find me either unlucky or insufficiently successful, or however Feminism adherents would rationalize my situation but are too polite to say anything.
There are still a few interesting personalities here and there. As usual, it is the smokers who hold my interest. These are the ones who refused to at the least have that habit beaten out of them through shaming, guilt, fear, conformity, or, most perniciously, female dominance in their marriages and relationships. There is also the obvious distinction in mental faculties. Smokers have more of them. It’s not even a contest.
I’m all tapped out for validations on vanilla, female dominance and feminism, Leftism, Socialism, mainstream media, mainstream medicine, and Healthism.
I can hardly wait for my home to sell so that I can get out of this place. It will have to be a tobacco friendly environment next even if it ends up being a floating or nomadic one. I have not yet figured out where that is going to be.
Here is the sort of recipe that I’ve been working on that is certain to scare away the healthy-nanny compliant sort of man:
Cholesterol City Pasta (for two, even if it is just me plus leftovers)
4 strips high-quality bacon (pasture-raised, organic, heritage, low-sugar, etc.)
1 whole clove garlic, chopped.
1/4 stick butter
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon powdered, high quality gelatin
A little white wine
2 cans smoked oysters in olive oil
Herbs and spices (whatever I feel like, but probably chili powder, fennel seeds, cumin, and nutmeg)
Generous amount of fresh grated Parmesan cheese
2 cup high quality Italian semolina pasta noodles, fusilli, for example, as desired
Arugula, washed and dried
High quality olive oil
Key lime juice
Cook the bacon, remove from pan, set aside until cool. Meanwhile, peel and chop garlic.
Reserve most of the bacon grease for something else.
Roast spices (except nutmeg) on low heat briefly on slightly greasy pan until aroma emanates.
Add butter and garlic, saute until golden.
And broth and gelatin. Cover and simmer.
Meanwhile cook pasta a minute less than recommended, according to directions.
Crumble the bacon into a bowl.
Line a broad, flat bowl with arugula.
Open the cans of oysters.
Just before the pasta is done, splash a little wine in the sauce.
Drain the pasta, rinse well, and then toss in the pan with the sauce with oysters, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cover and let simmer for about a minute.
Taste for doneness and then scoop onto arugula and sprinkle with bacon crumbs, a splash of lime juice, and grated cheese.