Thursday, June 20, 2013

Just a Few More Hours for 64

What will 65 be like?

Too soon to tell, because my birthday isn't until Saturday.

What do 65-year-old people do?

At 64, I play with my grandson and spend time with family and friends. Last week I went to the zoo with Susan, (my daughter-in-law’s mom and my friend) and her granddaughters, who are 5 and 7.

The four of us watched in awe as three female ostriches brought “Fantasia” to life, fluffing out their feathers, running in circles and chasing one another – and then we re-enacted the whole scene as we moved off to other exhibits. Later we walked like the Magellanic penguins, we laughed as the baby tiger playfully bit her mother’s ears and we practiced standing on one leg like the flamingos. A great day!

I go to the theater, to movies and to lectures with family members, with my friend Nancy (another transplant from St. Louis) or (happily) by myself. I watch “Mad Men.” Miss Jon Stewart terribly. Can’t wait for “Downton Abbey” and “Call the Midwife” to return to PBS. Spent a week obsessed with Kevin Spacey in “House of Cards." Just starting to appreciate "Breaking Bad."

A few days ago, I went to the Legion of Honor, an amazing art museum, with Dean, an old high school buddy (and fellow word lover) who took my place as Special Copy Editor on the high school paper after I graduated. In my yearbook, she wrote that we must stay in touch, but we did not. Now she lives in the Bay Area with her husband, Jim, who was president of my senior class. Happy to be reunited with both of them!

Once a month, I go out with Susan, Denise and Judy for Full Moon Cocktails. At our age, we never have to worry about being carded! Now and then I share Indian food at Dosa with Carolyn (my friend and massage therapist), have chatty coffee dates with my friend Chris, a teacher and writing workshop leader, and  enjoy a bowl of watermelon-flavored frozen yogurt alone on the edge of the continent at Ocean Beach.

My freelance projects, including my 17th book, are going well. After working, I watch amazing sunsets -- art in the sky, right outside my window – except on the nights when the fog (artfully) eats the Golden Gate Bridge. Also, I read, listen to music and play Scrabble on line with Cheryl, Shannon, Andy, Judy (two of them) John, Carolyn, Mark, Jane, Frank, Beth, Jerri and George. At the gym, I discuss politics, baseball and rock music with my friend Brandon, who is young but very smart. And I still volunteer with the Oceanic Society, where I am in the company of people who love whales as much as I do.

I watch baseball from the couch or sometimes at the ballpark with my friend Betty-Lou. And I indulge in great philosophical discussions, much laughter and the occasional piece of mixed-berry pie with my friend Emmeline at her new art studio in Stinson Beach.

What do 65-year-old people wear?

At 64, it’s Casual Friday every day in real life and also on line. Via Skype, I go to parties in St. Louis with Ann, Beth, Carol, Judy and Linda – and I can’t help but notice they always have better snacks! On Facebook,  I admire photos of friends’ grandkids, gardens and vacations and also the photographic art of my friend Jim. There is always time to exchange fun, flirty emails with a man I met 30 years ago. I also read a handful of blogs, including one by a top fashion model whose father is an old friend.   

My friend Gail’s birthday is on Saturday too, so last week I shopped for wild socks for her at the Haight Street Sock Shop. When I got home, I discovered that my friend Champe had sent me wild socks for my birthday! Yesterday, another pair of wild socks showed up in the mail, a gift from Gerry and Tom. Wild socks go with anything, and of course anything goes in San Francisco, where personal expression is always in style. So happy to spend most of my time in jeans and sweatshirts – and good walking shoes, of course.

Charlie, my friend for 53 years, introduced me to the wisdom of corduroy pants in this windy city, and I have three pair. After four decades in California, Charlie has moved away, but he helped me get oriented here. We went to Bolinas, which draws me back again and again. We went to the Berkeley Rep, where I still go. We went to lunch at fun places, and Charlie also showed me significant sites, such as where Dashiell Hammett lived. Now when we talk, I keep Charlie up to date on what's happening in San Francisco.

What’s good about being 65?

Medicare, of course, plus lower admission prices at the movies, museums and the zoo. (Ahem: Social Security is not a perk. I am entitled to it.) My hardware store invites you in on your birthday and offers a discount equal to half your age. A local pharmacy offers a free bottle of hand lotion. Also, in just days I will be eligible for a senior pass for the Muni bus system, which I have mastered so completely that I can go anywhere via at least three different routes and still get back home before rush hour.

Unless I decide to miss a bus on purpose and have an iced low-fat, decaf coconut latte at Peet’s. I do that a lot at 64. Though 65 sounds old to me, I am younger than I ever will be again -- so bring it on!