I can vividly remember sitting at the kitchen table, circa 1983-84, as a mid-teen, listening to my parents, relatives & their friends sitting around talking, while playing cards. Stale smoke hung in the air, pizza boxes on the counter, glasses of Lipton Ice Tea (from the can of powder mix) and Stroh's beers sat beside them. The ENTIRE topic of conversation was based on people's illnesses. "You know, Ronnie is on cholesterol medication now," said one Aunt. "I know! He's already on blood pressure pills, too! Your deal." Then my Uncle would chime in, "What about Frankie's lower back? Who knew? He may not be able to work at all!" (groans & nods would follow) "There's your 8 of clubs. Well, I heard Teresa had to go on hormone therapy for those hot flashes," said another Aunt. (Nothing from the men) "Last week, they diagnosed Lucy with diabetes, no shots- just pills, though. Who's deal?" As my eyes shifted from one Aunt to the next, from my Mom to my Uncle, and back to my neighbor, the conversation continued. "Jimmy? Gout. Right big toe. Shuffle." "Yeah and Tom went all the way to Buffalo for his tests. I think they call it 'Acid Reflux' now, not heart burn," says the across the street neighbor. "Well, it's no wonder, all that pepperoni, hot wings...it was just a matter of time," says an older cousin. (Grunts of agreement linger) "How about Artie? Arthritis!" My mother's response: "Really? So young!...Seven of hearts, right here," and the great Aunt, "His wife already suffers from shingles," (followed by a group "tsk, tsk" and a series of sighs) "She has to go back to the Dr.'s next week for new pills." This would go on for hours. When I would get up from the table, get my piece of pizza, and can of "Tab", go back in the living room to watch "Kate & Allie" and "Scarecrow & Mrs. King on the Zenith TV in the wooden console box, I would think to myself, "That was so BORING. Typical grown ups. Always talking about who's sick and who has something wrong with them. Me and my friends will NEVER be like that. We'll talk about concerts, cool cars, Atari games, good TV shows, like 'Miami Vice' and 'Riptide', and movies 'Beverly Hills Cop', 'Spinal Tap' and 'Ghostbusters' and we'll drink Michelob beer."
Cut to almost 30 years later.
We may not be playing pinochle or rummy or give a rats' ass about Don Johnson (because we've pretty much eliminated most men from our day to day lives in a sapphic way). We play Wii games in front of the 32'' flat screen HD TV after a day of Tweeting and Facebooking. We're drinking Pepsi Max, Crystal Light or some designer berry beer, and eating hummus & pita chips, or goat cheese, chicken, balsamic-glazed appetizers, discussing unemployment, Occupy Wall Street, HRC and some indie art flick we saw at a charity Women's Film Night. We drive cars with good gas mileage, watch CSI shows, and support acoustic folk singers who tour in their own Honda Element, and read the internet & blogs for daily news in our day to day lives. So- some things have changed a LOT.
But....and this is a big one....
Now, when my friends and I actually get together, we're at the same age my relatives were when I thought they were ridiculous. The conversation certainly sounds eeeerily similar to that which took place in 1984 at my house in upstate NY! Yep. Different faces, different food, different drinks- but alas- SAME TOPICS! So, my smart ass 13 year old self is saying to my 43 year old present self, "WTF, Man?!" How did this happen? The dreaded "A" word. Adult. It must be a grown up thing. Our conversations are now: Who's in physical therapy, who is going through menopause, who's having a hysterectomy, who's considering anti depressants, who's got a fibroid tumor, who's having dental implants, who found a lump, who's having knee surgery, who has new allergies, who's got an ingrown toenail, who's got carpal tunnel, who's got L5-S1 herniated discs, who had gastric bypass surgery, who's pulled a muscle, who's trying Chantix, who's got neuropathy, and who's bowel is more irritable.
P.S. Hi, Mom. Hope your not doing the "I told you So" dance right now. Hips can be fragile. :)