Cardiogirl 19 percent body fat 100 percent fun


secret obsessions


I wonder if there is a secret organization that enlists you into its ranks on your 70th birthday. It seems in old age people pick up strange habits that they never had when they were younger.

I never knew my maternal grandparents. My grandmother died when I was two and I never met my grandfather who died, coincidentally, on my tenth birthday. Suffice to say, my mom did not have a good relationship with him.

(Side note: Even though I never met him and my mom told me terrible stories about him all of my life, I felt intense guilt knowing he died on my birthday. I find it interesting that children misunderstand and take on all kinds of unnecessary guilt.)

My paternal grandparents lived into their 90s, and died within a year of each other, when I was 15 and 16. I grew up visiting them a couple times a year and do have memories of them. Which brings me to my secret organization.

They used to sit and smoke one cigarette after another while watching soap operas on CBS. I'm not a smoker, but I wonder if those ashtrays with the sand in the bottom are still out there? Remember those? The bottom half was fabric, some kind of plaid that was filled with sand or something malleable, kind of like a mini-bean bag. The top part was the actual ashtray and it was made of metal. It was a shallow bowl of sorts with a very tiny rack in the center where you could park your cigarette, sort of like a bike rack where you stick the front wheel between the metal rods.

The main soap I remember seeing on their television was "The Young and The Restless." As I think of that now, it would mean we were visiting during a week day, since these soap operas are not shown on the weekends. But both of my parents worked full-time, so I don't know how that could have happened. But I digress.

I'm pretty sure my grandparents didn't watch soaps when they were younger and more vital. But they were consumed by the television when we were there visiting. They called the shows their "stories," as in "my stories are beginning." And then you would hear the beginning strains of "The Young and the Restless" theme song with that tinkling piano.

My own parents are 79 and 80. The television is a large part of their lives, as well. But the special twist, for my dad at least, is that he is enthralled by infomercials. He buys so many things off television it has become a family joke.

Lately, the thing with infomercials is the buy one, get one free deal. It seems you can't buy just one of anything these days. He gave me the second GT Xpress 101 Meal, Snack and Dessert Maker that he recently bought. I thought I might be interested in it, but I haven't taken it out of the box. It's just sitting on a shelf in my basement. I don't know why I said yes. He asks me every week if I have used it yet, and I always say, "Not yet, Dad," implying I just haven't gotten to it yet.

He actually made me a cheese omelet in the thing last time I visited. Just to show me how easy it is and how fluffy and delicious the eggs were. I have to say it seems like fun, but it also seems like one more thing to clean. I don't know; my feelings are complicated. And I am thinking that I should just return it to him. But I think I will disappoint him if I give it back.

So his secret 70-year-old obsession is infomercials, my grandparent's obsession was soap operas. I wonder what mine will be.

I have run into a woman at the YMCA who appears to be in her 70s. She has gray curly hair and she wears a sweatband across her forehead. She is thin and wiry; I wouldn't want to tangle with her in a dark alley. She works out on the elliptical trainer and she seems very competitive.

Looking at her I feel like I am looking at my own future. I now think I know what my own secret 70-year-old obsession will be: frantic exercise. Let the games begin.


Just sending out overdue thanks to a fellow writer here at Diaryland. I'm sending an extra 1000 strides on the elliptical trainer to Lady-Crystal who was the absolute first person to add me as a favorite. Thank you! Thank you very much!


2007-01-11 at 6:47 a.m.

last post | next post