Sunday, August 31, 2014

How Great Is Getting Old Going to Be?

We passed a huge sign in a window on 42nd Street that posed a provocative question.

Just click on the video for Valerie's answer:

Ditto for Jean's response to the question:

(As usual, being as yet unreformed technosaurs, our videos are smallish to fit the Blogspot format as we understand it [which is to say not at all], but if you want to see these videos splashed all across your screen, click here for the first one and here for the second.  And don't forget to hit the little four cornered icon at the bottom right of the video.)

On a recent Saturday afternoon, in the unseasonably, wonderfully cool summer weather (sunny, temps in the low 80's, low humidity), to answer "How great is getting old going to be for you?", we strolled to Bryant Park to take advantage of a New York City tradition - the carousel! Luckily, our timing was great. Both the lines and the waits were short.  And, we didn't have to elbow any small children out of our way (always bad form).

The first time we rode, we got on together, but realized that that sort of limited the kinds of pictures we could take (see below).  Plus, having ridden on the horses all through our childhoods, in our dotage we wanted to bide our time and get the animals of our choice.  So we rethought our strategy, and decided one person would ride at a time, so the other could take photographs - and videos! - from a better perspective.

Valerie chose the Cat for one of her rides.  (After a look at these pictures, Valerie realized that old TV hands knew what they were talking about when they said don't wear complicated prints on TV, and never wear red.  The prints get pixillated, and red adds several sizes to you.  If you're going for trick photography, we advise going for colors that camouflage, rather than exaggerate.  Oh well.  What was that proverb?  Get old and learn?  No wait, live and learn.)

Jean preferred the Rabbit.  She had to wait for it (a child beat her to it the first time.)  But now that we're old, we know that the good stuff is worth waiting for.  Jean said the Rabbit reminded her of Alice in Wonderland.  Sooo worth the wait.

Carousel amusement rides feature seats for riders on a rotating circular platform.  Although some may have benches, "seats" are traditionally rows of wooden horses or other animals mounted on poles.  Many of the horses and animals move up and down by gears to simulate galloping, accompanied by looped circus music.  Although the most common animals are horses, they may include a diverse variety such as pigs, zebras and tigers.  In our case, it was a cat, a rabbit and a frog in the outer row, with multiple equine mounts on the inner row.

Valerie switched horses midstream, so to speak, hopping off the Cat and opting for the Rabbit on one of her spins.  (As a child, Valerie would have eschewed the rabbit because you can't really ride a rabbit.  Young Valerie's opinion on the prospect of riding the Rabbit would have been: "That's silly."  Old Valerie still thinks riding the Rabbit is silly, and that's why she went for it.)

Ever the optimist, Jean kept selecting the Rabbit as her noble steed, hoping Johnny Depp would show up in his Mad Hatter outfit and reprise his memorable role.

Here, Jean seems to be channeling her inner Helena Bonham Carter.

For reference, here is Ms. HBC as the Queen of Hearts in Tim Burton's 2010 Alice in Wonderland.

Valerie tries her hand at trick riding on the Cat.  Happily, as you can see, we were not the only adults riding the carousel.  We were, however, the only adults not accompanied by children.  Some of the music that accompanied the rides was wonderfully nostalgic.  On our videos, you can hear that old standard, the calliope, but at other times we heard Edith Piaf and Maurice Chevalier -- who predate even us!  Sacre bleu!

Yup.  Get old.  Fear less.  Live longer.  We couldn't have said it better ourselves.


  1. This post gave me one of those moments of supreme delight: from watching the two of you ride the carousel, and from the memory it stirred of my very same experience when I was in NY about a half a dozen years ago with my friend Donna, who is in her 60's. We wandered through Bryant park in the drizzle and found the carousel, and we were the only people on it. Edith Piaf was playing, and it was one of my favourite memories of that trip.

  2. I hope I don't have to deal with idealization and objectification of "old" people; having to deal with idealization and objectification as a young woman was plenty for me. I want to have a comfortable existence now, free of judgment. Hoping.