Walking behind old people

Firstly, bitch, thank you for tuning in to my pilot TIJ blog post and for allowing me to live out my lifelong dream of beginning a publication with “Firstly bitch.” Sassy black girl aspirations aside; my sincerest thanks to those of you who’ve laughed with and at me, thus granting the inspiration and confidence to put my creative efforts in front of the firing squad.

A bit about me: I’m a lifetime lover of food, sports, movies, rap music and awkward humor. I’m (proudly) from Wilmington, DE but discovered a passion for prose during my 10 years in Atlanta. I wrote rap music as a teen and into my twenties but, due to mediocrity and extreme discomfort with being the center of attention, decided a musical career wasn’t in the cards. My time in Atlanta was transformative to say the least. Perhaps I’ll write about that in a future post but the pertinent aspect, as it relates to my writing, is that I was forced to challenge countless personal values I had accepted as truths, and in discovering new perspectives, finally found my own. Devoid of a creative outlet that even came close to being as satisfying as writing verses, and with my entire world view recalibrated, I turned to fiction and satire.

An unpublished novel later, here I am to bring you something I hope you’ll enjoy week after week: ‘Truth in Jest’ – truly inspired by my utterly fulfilling (hilarious) social media and in-person exchanges based on the impactful issues facing our generation. Issues such as:

Walking behind old people

Let’s make one thing clear from the jump: I do not hate old people. In fact, the older I get the more I appreciate the elderly folks in my life and marvel the enriching bonds they form with the young. Ripe with sage, truthy nuggets and comforting old-people smell, their connection to our youth helps fortify our future with upstanding citizens to-be (…unless they’re racists. C’mon… y’all know old folks are the densest bigot demographic). Point is: in general, old folks are a net-positive.

However (dramatic pause) walking behind old people is the absolute worst. G-ZUS they are slow! Not one of you hasn’t had the unfortunate experience of being trapped behind Nanna or Pawpaw on your journey from A to B and having the urge to scream “GO!” into the back of her inexplicable Summer sweater or his wisps of lonely hair strands in a sea of barren follicles – not that they would hear you if you did. You’ve seen them: plodding along, not a care in the world, step after tortuous step. “Your time is up! Face it. No more society for you, my dude.”

Or how about the old folk tandem? – That sweet couple, combined age of ‘holy shit’, walking side-by-side, staring at the tall buildings in the city, stopping suddenly in the middle of the sidewalk – lost and confused. Are you people crazy? I know you can feel me tail-gating you. The sidewalk is too narrow to pass so if you stop abruptly, I can’t be responsible for what happens to you. I’m 230lbs – if I run into you it’s over. Done. Pulverized. I will destroy you. You will crystalize into dust and vapor.

And before you label me a monster, you should know that I’m not without empathy:

Quick story: In 2013 I completely tore my ACL, sprained my MCL and partially tore my lateral meniscus playing basketball, rendering me immobile for a brief period then very limited for some time after that. Once I gathered the courage to venture back into the pedestrian world I tried my luck at the Publix Supermarket on Ponce de Leon Ave in Atlanta. It was the cereal aisle. There we stood – me: on one and a half legs and two crutches, Mabel: on two excuses for legs and her four-wheeled grocery chariot. No words were exchanged but a mutual sideways glance set the terms. It was a race to the end of the aisle. I click-clacked my right crutch – my body, still stationary. Mabel inched her cart slightly forward, then back again, and gave me the ‘what’s up’ head nod. The intercom sounded, “Visit our deli for specials on…” I lunged both crutches forward and never saw Mabel again. I like to think she eventually made it to the end of that cereal aisle but who knows. I just hope she’s in a better place now.

Point is: I’ve been to their world and I’m a god within it…. That’s empathy, right?

Perhaps even more insufferable are the moderately old. Those sad tweeners holding on to a vitality that gave up on them long ago. You know the sort: speeding up as he feels you passing, pride telling him “you walk faster than this guy. You ran hurdles in the late 50’s.” Nah, B. Downshift. Save yourself the embarrassment. I’m not even trying right now – this is just my regular gait.

And the worst part is: you can’t even be mad – they’ve earned their laboriously cavalier trudging through 100 years of fighting world wars or doing the Charleston or whateverthefuck. Please believe: when I turn 100 I too will be moseying as slowly as I can. I’m a 6’5” lifetime basketball player with a knee reconstruction under my belt already – the future ain’t candy rainbows for me in the speed department. So, yes, I know this entire rant is hypocritical, but that’s my journey. It’s my prerogative as an arrogant relative-youngster to brazenly flaunt my mobility until it fails me as it has these sad marvels of kinetic futility.

Hmmm… what else?… Traffic lights! TRAFFIC LIGHTS! It’s green goddammit! Eh ehm… my bad – came unglued there a bit. Seriously though: move.

One thought on “Walking behind old people

  1. You’ve got it coming youngster! Age is just a number and your number’s coming up! Because of you, I’m going to purposely slow down everywhere I go! I’m calling on everyone everywhere to hold up the line, in stores, be sure to block the isles with your cart. Don’t take off when the light turns green and pay for everything with pennies!! Somebody, somewhere will run in to this Road Runner and make my day!!! Here’s to older age, butt-head!!


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