I’m Old!

By Rosalie Tirella

Today – Rose and Cece.

Selfies with Cece this afternoon. These days I’m living in a lovely one-bedroom, loft-style apartment in the country: safe, secure, warm and watching classic Westerns (STAGE COACH today) on my lil’ TV, as I recover. But I’m overweight, and my daily walks with Jett and Lilac have seemingly added to my flubber! I’ve stopped baking cakes and other sugary treats and cut back on the mashed potatoes, but I look more and more like my dumpling-shaped Green Island Bapy from Poland!

People guess my age way too easily, too. Like when they called the ambulance to take me to the emergency ward after I fell, and the dispatcher asked the town librarian’s husband who, along with several other good souls, had run to me to help: HOW OLD IS SHE? the town dispatcher had asked him.

I’D SAY 60, he said – in a nano-second! Without having to think about it!

All those decades of my slathering sunblock on my face were for naught! All those cups of green tea and plates of veggies with their damned antioxidants and swallowing the Vitamin D3 caplets every morning with a large glass of water were a waste. I may as well have been drinking gin and tonics and/or doing drugs! I’d have had more fun, and the results would have been the same! The ambulance drivers, when they finally came – looked like kids to me – and treated me like their grandmother. Yes, I was splayed out on the driveway, wearing my ugly night dress and, yes, it was in the early morning and I was wearing zero makeup, but still …


My age.

I’m me, Rose, but I’m “vintage” now – unique but a little moth-eaten along the seams and I was in my prime in another era … when The Partridge Family ruled the airwaves and bell bottoms were king. I look old in photographs. My skin feels like crepe paper no matter how much body lotion I apply. My boobs droop to practically my belly button, which looks flaccid and no longer cute, like young belly buttons do! I talk a bit too long when asked to explain things – or maybe most people just don’t want to look at an old lady talking so they get annoyed and dismissive. I never knew I was long-winded! So you learn to be succinct – or shut up entirely. But I’m a very opinionated person who likes to share her opinions! Depressing!!! When you’re old – unless you’re Ernest Hemingway or Orson Welles or Judy Garland – no one gives a shit what you think.

Many of my friends have died within these past several years, which makes me feel even older! My dead pals were more animated, more loved/loving and more consequential than I am, yet they’re all gone! Hearts gave out, ugly cancer cells ate all the beautiful good cells, an operation went south or it went ok but the person picked up a super bug at the hospital and died.

You begin to live with your own mortality – and realize you weren’t that great a human being, after all. You decide to “mellow out” and no longer “sweat the small stuff.” All the cliches but they’re true. The end is closer than I choose to think about. Why be pissed about a stolen Neil Young triple album?

Selfies ain’t what they used to be!

I like to think my death is a ways out yet, if I’m lucky … 20 years or so … down the mountain path, just past that bend in the river, like in SHANE, when Alan Ladd, his body ripped by the bad guy’s bullet, rides on, his arm lifeless in the dusk. The Teton mountains are still in the distance, but they’re a deep purple and majestic as darkness closes in. So inviting! Shane’s pretty horse, the one with the blaze on his forehead, knows the way.

Heroic Shane! photo: R.T.