Living La Vida Oldie (Part I)

The whole rain bonnet thing the other day made me wonder what other secrets old people could cough up that might be useful to know. Let’s face it, we’re all going to be old people one day and it might be good to know some of these rain bonnet type things ahead of time. I’d hate to find myself old one day in the midst of a fine drizzle wondering how on earth I’m going to keep my newly coiffed hair dry, right?

So, I got up extra early one day and decided to follow some old people around to see what other handy tips I could squeeze out of them. (Most of them seem to be up and about by 5:00 am).

  • First thing I found out was that old people get bus passes for $30.40 a month! Wow. No wonder they’re always tooling around on OC Transpo. For a dollar a day they couldn’t find cheaper transportation.
  • Many seniors like to travel in packs like teenagers, except they sit at the front of the bus gossiping and giggling instead of at the back.
  • Then, I found out that there are special seniors’ days at almost all retail shops which give seniors anywhere from 10% or more off. Seniors all have secret decoder calendars or something that tell them when each store has its seniors’ day.
  • The calendar also seems to tell them all the free stuff available for seniors all over the city – tours, concerts, exercise programs, dances, exhibitions, coffee and tea clubs, lectures, classes, courses and a whack of other group activities.
  • Seniors seem to like Treats Coffee Shops better than Tim Hortons. They all hang out there around 9:30 for their morning refreshments. I’m not sure why. I’ll have to investigate that further.
  • For lunch there’s no place like Zellar’s apparently. It was only 10:45, but it had already been a long day and everyone was ready for a good, hot meal. I’ve never eaten at Zeller’s in my life. I’m not even sure I knew there was a restaurant in Zellar’s. In fact, I’m not even sure if I’ve even bought anything at Zellar’s since I was a kid and went with my parents…maybe underwear…I can’t recall. Anyway, the restaurant looks like it’s been there for about 50 years with waitresses to match. I sat down with the other old people and we waited and waited and waited, but no one ever came to get our orders. No one else seemed to mind, but I was getting hungry so I left and went somewhere else for lunch. The place was kind of creeping me out anyhow.
  • Before I knew it, it was 11:30 and I just managed to hop on the bus with the last of the seniors. The daily shopping out of the way, it was time to go home for a short snooze and a bit of a tidy up before meeting the girls at the community centre for yoga at 2:00. (If I’d been allowed to go, of course, which I wasn’t.)

If it weren’t for the whole physical deterioration thing, being old seems kind of fun – provided you’ve got a bit of money put aside or some sort of pension coming in. And provided you have a good network of cronies to hang out with and share your day and swap information and gossip with. You really need to be in the loop to find out about all these specials and deals and discounts and events seniors are entitled to. I’m not sure all old people know about this stuff.

There’s a whole other world out there of old people that us young whipper-snappers know nothing about. I want to know more.


22 responses to “Living La Vida Oldie (Part I)

  1. I didn’t know there were caves in Ottawa. You must live in one of them.
    Haven’t you heard of problems with guns and gangs? The Roving Seniors are a big problem early in the day. They’re spelled off by the Crips and the Bloods at nightfall — or noon, whichever comes first.

    By the way, about the restaurant at Zellers? Good call leaving. The food absolutely sucks.

  2. Actually a lot seniors in cities go out early to avoid things like gangs and thieves. I guess criminals sleep in.

    What – no mall walking before the stores open? That’s big around here for the elder sneaker bunch.

  3. LOL becky took the words out of my mouth. go check out St Laurent Shopping centre early int he morning for a good view of the mall walkers, all in matching shirts.

    also. go to carlingwood. that is the old people mall. i dont know why. maybe cause of the carpeted floors?

  4. I coild tell you all about being old and on pension and stuff but then I;d have to have the gray panthers kill you. Some things in life you just have to wait for. You can learn all about it when you get your card. Till then you better stop this line of research while you still have the chance.

  5. If this is part 1, will there be a part 2? Or will you forget about it, as a senior is wont to do?

    And don’t call me Whippersnapper!

  6. I’m totally looking forward to Canasta parties when I get old. I can’t wait to be like my grandma and just hang out all day, gossip, play cards and drink diet coke.

  7. My parents live in one of those senior communities where there are three golf courses, a gym, two pools, a club house and more clubs that anyone could ever join. And don’t forget the drama—retiriees hooking up with the golf pro or personal trainer. They old guy with the convertible and oxygen mask who gets more chicks than anyone.

    They’re up at 5:00 and pity the poor fool who actually sleeps in and doesn’t get his newspaper until 10:00 a.m. It’s positively scandalous.

    But they have so much fun. Card groups, movie days, golf, and parties for just about every occasion. They have the time and the means to travel and they do it while they can. I joke with my parents that it’s like high school with money. But I’m grateful that they have a great group of friends and an amazing support group. I truly believe it keeps them sharp, healthy and mobile.

  8. Bob – I’ll be happy to take your word on the Zellar’s food. It didn’t look too appetizing what I saw of it. But when did you eat there and why and what did you have?? (and, yes, I do believe there will be at least one other part to the LLVO series)

    Becky – There are plenty of mall walking groups I found out, but you have to get up and out even earlier than I did because you have to go before the mall is actually open. It’s on my to-do list.

    Jobthingy – St. Laurent (check). Carlingwood is too far away and I don’t care how happening it is. I’ve only been there once and liked it even less than I like most malls, but I’m on the St. Laurent tip-off

    Bandobra – Don’t give away any secrets. Save them up. I’ll do an indepth interview since you’re the only really, really old person I know.

    J – Meh, I don’t want to play cards when I’m old. I don’t much like playing cards now, so I don’t see that changing, but gossiping is definitely at the top of my agenda

    Mo – I love those places and can’t wait to move into one. It’s like a little old folk town. I think they’re pretty pricey, though, aren’t they? I’ll have to push my daughter into marrying for money so she can afford to put me somewhere good in my dotage.

  9. Seniors always seem to be having way more fun than anyone else, have you ever noticed? They hang out in their white poplin jackets and their golf shirts and their polyester pants, and they have so much fun.

    I always think of the movie “Cocoon” when I see a gaggle of seniors. But I shouldn’t talk… I won’t be far behind them.

  10. When and what did I eat at Zellers? Please, it’s not something I’m proud of. It took a lot of courage just to admit to it here.

    Don’t worry about not playing cards, XUP. There’s also shuffleboard, pool and darts. And there’s a role for everyone, even if you don’t play any of those games, either. You can be the old dame that everyone gossips about, because she’s the first one up to the bar when it opens. And while she’s waiting, there’s always that little flask in her purse. Rheumatism medicine: riiigghhhhtttt.

    Of course, I wouldn’t know any of this for sure. I’m just speculating…

  11. I once took a seniors aquatics class. Due to an injury, it was deemed the best (i.e. lowest impact) for me. They were very accepting and was really the most fun I’d had exercising ever.

  12. Question is — how did they end up with all that change? I end up behind them at Zeller’s and damn it, it’ll come to $18.87, they’ll hem and haw and pay in dime and pennies.

    As an aside, I think they like Carlingwood because it’s all on one level (except for Sears.) Also it has a Treats.

  13. I knew about some of this. My parents have retired to a camping place where “the regulars” have their fancy big campers permanently parked and the “weekenders” come in during the summer. They have golf carts to tool around in and regular potlucks and pig-pickings. I’m going to visit for Thanksgiving and when I asked Mom if my arrival time would be bad because of rush hour she said, ” ‘Geewits’ we’re retired. We have all the time in the world.”

  14. Florida is Old People Special mecca. I think the whole senility thing happens because they use up their last bits of memory trying to remember while day is Senior Day at all the stores and restaurants. How stressful!

  15. Bob- Well, the first step is admitting you’ve eaten there.

    Violetsky – It’s funny how we think of older people as some sort of alien species – they’re just us a few years from now!! Remember when we were teenagers and scoffed at “suits” and all those pathetic corporate shills? Well, hello, most of us now are the suits and pathetic corporate shills. A few more years and we’ll be those funny seniors we’ve been poking gentle fun at. Odd, eh?

    Nat – If you don’t ever pay with a credit or debit card the change piles up amazingly quickly I find. I think seniors are the only ones using real money these days. My question is how they carry all that change around. My purse gets mighty heavy once there are a few loonies, toonies and quarters in there.

    Geewits — Pig-pickings??? Dare I ask? I’m imagining all sorts of possiblities here.

    Deb – We have an apartment complex in our neighbourhood that’s mainly populated by seniors. Unless the weather is really bad there is always a whole flock of them sitting in the little square between buildings. They know absolutely everyone within a 10 mile radius and absolutely everything that goes on. Everything. They know stuff about me that I can’t for the life of me figure out how they know unless they have me under 24-hour surveillance. The like to toss out the occasional remark as I pass by to let me know that they know stuff. It’s all very friendly and everything, but also kind of freaks me out. Moral of the story – never underestimate the oldies.

  16. I tried to warn you about the power of the Panthers. What do you think happens to all those hockey dads and soccer moms when the kids have grown and left home. They have to live vicariously through someone and if you’re nearby you’ll do just fine. We are always watching what with never sleeping through the night and all. Be afraid be very afraid. We have nothing to do except observe you young- uns.

  17. Wednesday is Senior Day at the grocery stores here in Connecticut. Rain-bonnet-clad seniors get something paltry like 5% off, but they are there in droves. So you may want to show up, notebook in hand, for a huge sampling.

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  19. i’ve always been a fan of the old people. they have so much life experience to share and wisdom that only comes with more years on the planet.

    i’ve noticed that if the elders are eating somewhere in big numbers, it usually means it’s a good eats for not a lot of money.

  20. Bandobras – Thanks for reinforcing that and rest assured, I never underestimate grey power.

    Ellie – Canadian seniors couldn’t be bribed to a shop for anything less than 10%. You don’t want to be anywhere near the drug store on seniors’ day.

    DP – I can’t say I’m a particular fan of old people any more than I’m a fan of middle-aged people or kids — I like some, I love some and some are just jerks. And I wonder if that’s true about old people and restaurants? I understand we lose most of our sense of taste as we age (except sweet — that sticks around for a long, long time). Also, most of them have to be careful about anything with too much spice (i.e.: flavour) AND they grew up in a time of good, old plain cooking (i.e.: none of that peculiar “ethnic” stuff) Sooooo….. I wonder…..

  21. The Urbane Lion and I were walking through a mall food court the other day at 7:30 a.m. (I had to get donuts for a meeting) and it was filled with old people. I made him promise that we would never hang out in the food court when we got old. He said there will be no food courts on our retirement boat. Whew!

  22. Zellers is seriously underrated. I discovered this when trying to set up our apartment after the wedding and looking at all the more “posh” stores for certain household stuff, and then finally finding something we both liked (shock!), that looked nice (shock!), at a reasonable price (shock!) at Zellers. Seriously, I haven’t bought clothes there since forever, but their kitchen/dining things? Awesome!