Can We Really Learn Lessons from Our Elders? Depends

Today I got my haircut and as I was paying, I noticed an older couple, probably both at least 80. The woman had just finished getting her hair done. As she approached the front of the salon, her husband stood up from the chair where he had waited and stepped toward her. He put his hands on the outsides of her shoulders and looked at her and said, “Wow, your hair really looks beautiful.” His sweet, genuine gesture toward his wife happily startled me, and I smiled.

They shuffled slowly toward the door to leave, and then suddenly stopped, blocking the way. I stood behind them and I heard him ask if her if she was ok. He put his hand on the small of her back. At the same time, she reached back and sort of tugged at the back of her pants and said, “I just peed.”

I wouldn’t share this story if the punchline were just an old lady pissing herself. Her response was so direct and unaffected that it was unquestionably hilarious, if only because it was so disarmingly unexpected. But I immediately felt this mortified, helpless sympathy–the poor, darling old woman had just wet herself on a day out with her husband.

They stepped outside and I walked kinda slowly toward my car and looked back. I’m not sure what possible help I could’ve provided, but I just wanted to see if she seemed alright. And funny thing, they were just talking, and kinda laughing. I was close enough to hear them discussing where to go next. It occurred to me that she was well equipped for incontinence. She wasn’t humiliated in telling her husband she peed; she was merely informing him. She was like, “Fuck it, I’m 82 and I love you so I’ll put on my goddamned diaper and we’ll spend the day together.” And I got the feeling this was their attitude all the time. So, I’ve been in the most delightedly hopeful mood all day ever since. Thank you, old people.

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