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Author Topic: A sad sign of the times
bohdan
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posted 12 April 2003 03:22 PM      Profile for bohdan     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
As I approached the streetcar this morning I waved my arm and bid the man enter ahead of myself. Rather than board the car, this elderly man insisted that I go ahead. His act of kindness was followed by a curious comment. “Beauty before age” he said. His conviction was authentic, this unsettling remark held distinct sincerity. I felt a small sadness, a violation of proper values.

I have forever greatly reveared my elders. Wisdom is that one quality that never fails to arouse my admiration.
Is this respect of those who have paved our way disappearing as quickly as it seems?


From: Toronto | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
dale cooper
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posted 12 April 2003 03:31 PM      Profile for dale cooper     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
If I understand what you're asking, I think it's more a matter that people are more demanding that their respect be earned in present days. Rather than just deciding that since someone has attained their golden years relatively unscathed they deserve a place of honour, we now feel that this reverence of the aged be based upon their actual ideas and actions.

Perhaps this is a result of the more recent generations realizing that our elders have (generally unknowingly) done us some great injustices and we are stuck with a world that needs a lot of work to be repaired.

At any rate, while I don't automatically stick my tongue out at any old person passing my way, I have definitely met my fair share of them who expect me to kneel down in front of them (figuratively) but aren't willing to back up this demand with anything of substance.


From: Another place | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Secret Agent Style
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posted 12 April 2003 04:04 PM      Profile for Secret Agent Style        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
His act of kindness was followed by a curious comment. “Beauty before age” he said. His conviction was authentic, this unsettling remark held distinct sincerity. I felt a small sadness, a violation of proper values.

Was this the first time you you heard the phrase "Beauty before age" before? It's a common expression. I don't understand why you'd find that unsettling.

From: classified | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
bohdan
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posted 12 April 2003 05:00 PM      Profile for bohdan     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In actuality Andy, the phrase that I most often hear is “age before beauty”, this being in accordance with the traditional respect offered ones elders. So it was unsettling first in that it was reversed but mostly in that it came from an elderly man.
From: Toronto | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Secret Agent Style
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posted 12 April 2003 05:09 PM      Profile for Secret Agent Style        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
In actuality Andy, the phrase that I most often hear is “age before beauty”, this being in accordance with the traditional respect offered ones elders. So it was unsettling first in that it was reversed but mostly in that it came from an elderly man

Oops. I just cut the phrase from the first post and pasted it in my response, assuming the words were proper order. But still, it sounds like he was just making casual converation. You're reading way too much into it.

[ 12 April 2003: Message edited by: Andy Social ]


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Mohamad Khan
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posted 12 April 2003 11:59 PM      Profile for Mohamad Khan   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
But still, it sounds like he was just making casual converation. You're reading way too much into it.

oh, come on, man ...i'm not sure how to answer bohdan's question, but i think it's great to read deeply into little things like that, and to let them make an impression on you. i certainly do...you have no idea how much i've learned about the war on Iraq by looking into the windows on the subway.

here's a little thing that i read deeply into: i was sitting in a coffee shop a couple of weeks ago reading Levi-Strauss. the book was propped up by a steel book stand that i'd bought at the U of T bookstore. as i was reading, i was simultaneously daydreaming about something i daydream a lot about these days: distance. suddenly i looked up from my book, and a frizzy-haired woman in tights with a baby strapped to her belly was approaching me. "Excuse me," she said, "may I ask where you bought that book stand?" for some reason it made me smile as i told her. it made me love her as she went away.

when i was in Pakistan, my cousins pointed out to me that one of the big differences between Pakistani society and many Western societies is that community bonds in Pakistan are much closer; people in general seem closer, and there's never anything awkward about speaking to strangers; it seems as though there are no strangers. except for the class strangers, maybe. coming back to Canada i felt the difference. so when she came up out of nowhere, a complete stranger, to ask me about my book stand, it was oddly touching. also...i have to admit that it relieved me that despite my moderately marked Muslim appearance, she didn't have any qualms about approaching me. i shouldn't have thought that she would, but the aftermath of 9/11 has engendered an edgy fear in a lot of Muslims, and i'm no exception. wasn't it a loving gesture somehow? i thought it was. honestly, thinking about it i almost worked myself up into tears.

anyhow, i went back to my book. after five minutes an older man in a business suit walked in. he was bald and he wore a yellow tie. i feel instinctively nervous when faced with a man in a suit, and in my mind's eye, don't ask me why, i transmogrified him into a copy of that odious rag, the National Post. in fact, i know why: his tie was the exact same colour as the boxes in which that newspaper is sold. as i took a bite out of my donut, he came up to me all of a sudden:

"I beg your pardon, but where did you buy that book stand?"

i swear, i nearly choked on my donut in my laughter.


From: "Glorified Harlem": Morningside Heights, NYC | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mohamad Khan
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posted 13 April 2003 12:00 AM      Profile for Mohamad Khan   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
btw, bohdan, ever thought of just putting up a website with these writings? might be worthwhile, a neat thing to do if you have the time and the will.

[ 13 April 2003: Message edited by: Mohamad Khan ]


From: "Glorified Harlem": Morningside Heights, NYC | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 13 April 2003 11:43 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, the first thing I thought about the "beauty before age" comment is that it is a reversal of the usual "age before beauty" saying.

But the "age before beauty" remark made when you let an older person get in first has always struck me as a bit of a sarcastic thing to say, although mildly funny with someone you know well, like a parent or whatever, when you're letting them go first. And of course, the retort that the older person has always made is, "Beauty was a horse."

So the first thing I thought of when I saw bohdan's original post was, "Beauty was a horse".

Also, it might have been that the older person had mobility problems and might have felt self-conscious about going up the stairs slowly in front of you.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
bohdan
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posted 13 April 2003 06:11 PM      Profile for bohdan     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
HORSE!!!

Michelle, you flatter me!!!
haha

Thank you Mohamad, that is encouraging, though I am no writer and doubt very much my ability to create a collection of thoughts worthy of its own page.

I have always thought Dale, that it is through experience that one gains great perspective and ultimately, as I said, wisdom. And although you will encounter many elderly who are perhaps, “out to lunch”, generally speaking, most do possess that experience and wisdom. It may not be that they deliver it to you on a silver platter, but it is there for those who wish to sometimes “read deeply into little things”
Also, bear in mind this part of my comment, as it does more precisely define the circumstance.

“His conviction was authentic, this unsettling remark held distinct sincerity”

All aside though, does no one agree that within this modern society, screaming forward at such a rate and leaving behind those who have acquired such experience, that wisdom has lost its place?

[ 13 April 2003: Message edited by: bohdan ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Kindred
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posted 13 April 2003 11:29 PM      Profile for Kindred     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Too many people dont speak to strangers, one of the things that prompted my move to SK was that while visiting there I went for a walk by the Parliament Bldgs, I was sitting by the lake 2 women came along, sat down and started talking to me !! WOW women talking to me ! I was used to living in BC where my experience with women was when I encountered any their claws came out and the hissing and bitchy crap started -

Then and there I made up my mind to move to SK. And after living there for almost 3 years I was never disillusioned - its all good. Strangers who will sit down and talk to you, they dont see you as "competition" or something - I love it !

When I was touring N Dakotas, Wyoming, Minnesota with my brother (He's American) he said "Stop talking to strangers, people are going to think you're nuts --" Most people responded postively but a number of women just looked at me like I was nuts -- maybe I am? After all I talk to strangers --

Its a sad thing. Some of the best conversations and the most interesting I have had are while sitting around waiting for a flight, or on a greyhound bus, with strangers. The cowboy from Alaska, the old pilot who flew in WWII, a film maker from Vancouver, a business women from NY, an old women who ferried planes during the war, a ten year old flying off to a private school hundreds of miles from his family -

Its like that song "Every stranger has a story". And I, for one, want to hear it ...


From: British Columbia | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
dale cooper
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posted 14 April 2003 12:09 AM      Profile for dale cooper     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I agree that a lot of wisdom comes from experience, but just as much prejudice and ignorance does too. My grandfather was very old before he passed away, and he was one of the most racist people I ever met. So, while I am prepared to be polite to old people i meer (well, everyone, cuz there's no need for rudeness) I'm not going to just assume they deserve my respect, because respect must be earned.

As far as talking to strangers goes, I find that most of the time if you just do it, people are responsive no matter where you are. As long as you're polite and friendly and don't start throwing your views in their face.


From: Another place | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 14 April 2003 04:51 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
See, I'm the other way around. Everyone has my respect until they do something to "unearn" it.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
skadie
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posted 14 April 2003 01:25 PM      Profile for skadie     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I had an appalling experience just this morning at the medical lab. There was a line-up as there usually is in the A.M. A little old Oriental lady made her way in with a cane. A draught would have knocked her over. As I have seen happen before the elderly lady "butted" into line.

The person behind her (a robust man in his thirties) made a great, very loud stink and told the woman to wait her turn and get to the back of the line.

Just made me wonder where we leave our manners in the morning. As if life isn't stressful enough.


From: near the ocean | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
dale cooper
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posted 14 April 2003 01:34 PM      Profile for dale cooper     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
See, I'm the other way around. Everyone has my respect until they do something to "unearn" it.

Sorry. I want to re-state what I said, as I said it wrong. Everybody for me has the same level of initial respect. I'm not going to just assume that the elderly automatically get more respect than the young. Beyond that, I'll give people respect until they un-earn it.


From: Another place | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged

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