I can’t—and won’t —speak for anyone else, but when we were kids hanging on a street corner, we always viewed ourselves as “being busy”—that is, we had to be doing what we were then doing, which of course, was “nothing.”
Anyone who has ever seen the 1956 Academy Award-winning movie, Marty would know exactly what I’m talking about. The theme of that film revolved around a group of single young men who, night after night, did little more than hang around a bar and talk about what they were going to do. Which usually turned out to be—hanging around!
I will have to admit, as teenagers, we would spend our summer days playing ball, then at night, we’d all gather on the corner and do essentially the same thing we had done the night before…and the night before that. And what we did was—nothing! It’s what young people tend to do with their time. Time means less to them than it does to someone in middle age, and a lot less to them than it means to a senior citizen.
That’s why it annoys me—yes, I do get annoyed—whenever I see a TV show that depicts youth as perpetually busy, while senior citizens are continually shown as dozing, sitting on a park bench, dozing, ambling along with a walker or cane, dozing, gossiping unashamedly, dozing, and drinking the omnipresent cup of tea.
In truth, I have much more on my plate nowadays than I ever did as a teenager. For example, in the past three months alone, my wife and I have decorated our daughter’s house for her daughter’s wedding, attended a college graduation of another daughter who went back to school after having one successful career, saw a granddaughter off to a senior prom, attended another granddaughter’s wedding rehearsal, followed two days later by her wedding.
In that time I also published two novels as e-books, edited a dozen special sections for the Cape May County Herald, and celebrated our wedding anniversary ( and of course, Mother’s Day). Moreover, we usually spend one day a week volunteering at a local nursing home in our “spare time.”
I added one other activity for 2012—having cancer radiation therapy every weekday for 39 days, which, by the way, did slow me down.
All this is a lot better than “killing time hanging on a corner,” but then again, adults—at least those in middle age or their senior years—know that time is not to be killed, because as a wise senior citizen once said, “Lost time is never found again.” I think that was Benny the Frank.
So…the next time you see some 60-something adult portrayed as just watching the world pass them by, remember…it’s fiction!