Friday, May 15, 2009

Old People 101

I'm at work later than I usually am because I have to run the subscription table (that annoying girl in the skirt in the lobby saying "have you resubscribed for next year? Have you seen next year's season?" when all you want to do is empty your bladder and buy a cookie).
The point is that I can hear Act 1 of Showboat playing over the monitors, but my manager left her ipod on in the box office as well so I have a really strange mash-up of "Can't Help Lovin' That Man of Mine" and Eminem. It's an experience.

One of my favorite parts of my job is that I get to sit at the window and run willcall, which means I get to pass out tickets to a crowd of primarily old people.

Being that I have worked here for 3 years now, and it is a theatre, and lots of elderly folk attend the theatre, I have found there are distinct categories of old people which I will now explain:

1. The Hearing Aid:
"Hi are you picking up your tickets?"
"Your tickets. Are you picking them up?"
"Honey, I'm an old woman, you're going to need to speak a bit slower."
"Do. You. Have. Tickets. At. Willcall?"
"Oh, no. I have them already. Where's the bathroom?"

2. The Grouch:
This brand of old person has seen too many things, been to too many shows, perhaps birthed too many children, and to top it all off, it all seems to be MY fault. This brand of old person scowls at your eyeshadow, turns their nose up at your pink tights, scoffs at the rock music playing softly in the box office, and can't BELIEVE I would charge her an exchange fee after she's been coming to this theatre for THIRTY-FIVE years. Sigh.

3. The Jokester:
Lots of older men, I find, particularly at 60ish or above, delight in making young people laugh. Especially girls. For instance, a man today sauntered up to the window and says, "Have you seen my wife? I always seem to lose her. She's about yay tall, has white hair, wearing a skirt..." and proceeds to point into a sea of women all matching that description, winks at me, and then immediately cracks up. Usually these men's jokes aren't particularly funny, but it's all in the delivery. I know he came over SPECIFICALLY to be funny in front of a young girl, so I always give them a laugh. The wink is priceless, too.

4. The Flirt:
There is a certain point in a man's life where flirting with younger girls switches from creepy and unnacceptable to cute. This is again usually sometime after the 65-70 year range. A man came today to get his half-price military discount and I smiled at him before telling him he was about 15 minutes too early. He smirked at me and said "Well I could go get a cup of coffee and wait with my buddy here, or I could stay at the window and talk to a pretty lady." Again with the wink. These men seem to get themselves in trouble when they do this in front of their wives. Especially if their wives are of the Grouch variety.

Some people are great with computers. Some know everything there is to know about office supplies. Some can make a Subway sandwich like the world is ending tomorrow.

Me? I well versed in the subject of Old People.


trumpetplayingnerdfighter said...

The Hearing Aid category is pretty much my life seeing as genetic hearing loss runs through my whole family. I wear hearing aids and once got "poke your grandma" out of "take some Gravol." Fortunately, my grandmother was not in the room.

Anonymity said...

Nice to know about old people! for one- if i ever mean a grouch, well again, i will try to remember that. ;) and as sarcastic as that sounds it truely sincere. crap! this whole paragraph sounds sarcastic. oh great.

Kaitlin said...

My history teacher is the flirt, but I'm the one girl who doesn't get hit in class (kind of makes me upset because I feel so left out and ugly).

Matt said...

Working in a pharmacy, I deal with old people a lot as well. I have to say that this list sums them up pretty well. The inner jokester always seems to come out when a man is picking up his Viagra prescription, though.

the apple that astonished paris said...

ahhhh, my mother works at an over-55 community as the entertainment director and i help her out sometimes for spare cash so i know exactly what you are talking about. my favorites are the old jewish ones. <3

also, i thought you should know that my captcha is "supties".

as in.. sup, ties?

KirbyJayne said...

I used to work at a store called Spotlight in the craft section selling wool and so would get a lot of old women and their husbands in and I can completely relate to all of these categories.

VicMorrowsGhost said...

The wink is becoming a lost art.
No one under the age of 65 can pull it off anymore. Except on a computer screen ;)

Anonymous said...

The joker sounds adorable.
Old people- can't live with them, can't live without them.

Britty said...

This post is probably one of my favorites considering I basically only work with old people. I'm a physical therapy aide at a university hospital, and most of them are in what we would call the "geriatic" stage (60-100). You literally have hit the nail on the head.

As an adendum to the "flirt" category you have to talk about the fiesty old ladies too. You probably haven't expirienced this because you generally only talk to them about tickets. The fiesty old ladies are the ones who are up front about the fact that even thoguh they are old, they ain't dead.
I had a patient once that had the following exchange with my boss (I'm not making this up!)

Boss: Good Morning!
Fiesty: I like that scrub top you are wearing!
Boss: Why, thank you!
Fiesty: I'd like it better if you weren't wearing it.

This same old lady would turn her body to watch a male nurse walk away. I LOVED HER!

Hope you and Alex are having a great time!

Anonymous said...

You could have an old people zoo or museum and give tours telling members of the public about the many varieties of old person.

Word Verification: Winkth - To wink, in ye olde times. Like when Shakespeare was around.

Hannah Missouri said...

This seems like something you would like.

Sarah said...

I also work with the older population and I looove this post. Your description is so funny/accurate. :)

Genevieve said...

ha, I totally know what you mean about putting people in categories. All last fall (and a chunk of January '08), I work registering people to vote for the democratic party and after a few weeks you get to know that everyone can be put into a few different categories. They all made the same mistakes, asked the same questions, and had the same arguments. I worked in a team with my boyfriend and I was good at convincing the Republicans to vote for Obama and he was good at convincing everyone else. It was easy to figure out what category everyone went into before they stated their party affiliation. By the end of it I was on auto-pilot.

Melody said...

I work in a fabric store so many of the people that come in fit those categories only all the men are with their wives. Fun.

delightfully mediocre said...

Ha ha, the Flirt! I was shopping at the Milwaukee Brewers store the other day and got into a conversation with the 75-ish guy working there. I mentioned that The Boyfriend is a Cubs fan and he sort of sighed, "It's so sad. Why are all the pretty girls going with Cubs fans? It's not right." Hee.

Kaitlyn said...

All so true. Love it. I wish I could favorite a blog post.

Mamasan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mamasan said...

Age is a mindset....
You will find as time goes by that "old" starts to fade away.
Do you find your mother/father "old"?
I would like to think that my 21 yo doesnt find me "old" at the ripe age of 46.
I, as a nurse, have always preferred working withe the geriatric crowd for all of the reasons you mentioned, to hear awesome stories and to perhaps make their day a bit brighter!

So to all of you "youngins", try to look at "old" in a new/fresh way!