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Neighbors, Age Appropriateness, and Gladys Kravitz
Gladys Kravitz

I have a friend that is 23 years younger than me.  I’m only a few years younger than her mother.   Yet I’m not a mother figure at all to her.  I’m a good friend.  She lives in my neighborhood and we hang out in our neighborhood restaurants, bars, and stores.

 

 We have a lot in common.  We both love theatre, funky vintage clothes, Christian Louboutin shoes, Arctic Monkeys, yoga, a good cheese plate for dinner and a fine bottle malbec.  The thing is, there is no generational gap.  A wisdom gap, sure; generational, not at all.  We have fun when we hang out.  We don’t think about age.  We just like to have a good time in life.

 I remember when I was 23.  A forty-six year old woman was old.  She listened to the easy listening station on the radio which featured overly orchestrated instrumental versions of Beatles and Abba tunes, watched Murder She Wrote, ate at the Picadilly Cafeteria, and bought her shoes at Naturalizer.  Me, now at forty-six myself, still have nothing in common with that woman. 

 My very best friend, (she lives in the neighborhood adjacent to mine) is on the edge of fifty.  She wears True Religion jeans with see thru tops, Herve’ Leger dresses, loves yoga, mooches off my cheese plate at our neighborhood restaurant, believes in the healing power of a dirty martini, and cranks up Snoop Dog as high as it will go when she comes over to my house.  We have no idea how fifty is supposed to act.  We’re just us, hanging with our 23 year old neighbor, enjoying our favorite neighborhood restaurant, socializing, listening to good music and having great conversation. 

 Last night, I came home with The Ting Tings cranked up on my stereo, blaring as loud as my cheap factory radio would go, as I pulled into my carport at ten o’clock.  I had had a good time out with my two girlfriends.  I can’t help it if my next door neighbor’s window is adjacent to my carport, five feet away.  She should understand my joie de vivre as she is only two months older than I am.  Instead, her bedroom light came on, the mini-blinds parted, and I got a stern, “Turn that blasted music down, kiddies” look from her.  Woops.  I woke her up.

 Like me, my next door neighbor is single yet she rarely goes out, thinks an occasional margarita brought home from the daiquiri shop is a wild night on the town, has begun dressing like a spinster, lives for Bunko night once a month, spies on the comings and goings at my house as if she were Gladys Kravitz with nothing to watch on tv, and for the life her can’t imagine why on earth I’d need to jet off to Paris for New Year’s eve when they show it on TV!

 I have nothing in common at all with her.  I’ve lived next door to her for ten years now.  As much as I’ve tried to be a friend and include her in on my life and our other neighbors, it’s never happened.  It’s never going to happen.  There’s a generational gap there. It’s obvious, in our minds, we’re just not the same age!