Friday, August 1, 2008

Too Old?

Last night my husband and I attended “Last Thursday” in Portland’s Alberta Arts Neighborhood. We had a wonderful time, though we hadn’t even known that the event existed until a week ago. At that time, my future daughter-in-law asked if my husband and I were going to our nieces gallery show on Last Thursday. I didn’t know anything about the show and was surprised that our niece hadn’t invited us to it. When we asked her about it at dinner a couple of nights later, she turned a lovely shade of pink and said she hadn’t invited us because (and here she stumbled and stammered a bit)…because, well, let’s see….the people who would be there would be sort of like hippies….it would be an eclectic type of crowd…. At this point my husband and I both jumped in, smiling, with, “You mean we’re too old!” Our niece backpedaled a bit more, trying to assure us that she didn’t think us too old, so we wondered if perhaps she thought us too stuffy. The end result was that she said that she would, of course, love to have us attend her gallery showing and we let her know that in this teasing family, she will never live down not inviting us because she thought we were too old or too stuffy.

So, we went out to dinner in the neighborhood at an absolutely wonderful restaurant. We were joined by our not-too-old and not-too-stuffy oldest son, his fiancé and our nephew. We had a lovely Thai dinner sitting outside on a charming patio with great music blasting from the house next door. After dinner we walked down the street to our niece’s gallery showing. We enjoyed seeing her art as well as the other art on display. My husband and I then wandered down the street, looking at some of the art, browsing a couple of galleries, picking up a wonderful maple bar for our dessert at the local bakery. It’s true that the majority of the people attending the event were young and many could perhaps be described as hippies, but my husband and I noted that we weren’t the oldest people in the crowd; we were, however, amongst the best dressed. We had a great time! We wondered, though, at being categorized as not being the right fit for this event. We all have expectations about people based on what we see of them. I think I’ve written before about living with my 85 year-old grandma when I was a teenager and being surprised when she told me that she still had the heart of a young girl. Now, here I am, being classed as too old and I just don’t feel that way. This isn’t meant as any offense to our niece; we love her dearly! But I’m intrigued at the ways we label people, perhaps even how we label ourselves. Do we restrict ourselves and others by how we see them? Because of this experience I’m feeling a little more open-minded than usual. Bring on the eclectic!

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