When I Get Old

What will it be like when I get old? Cocksparrer posed that question to me when I was 16, and the Descendents asked the same of me at 18. (click this link, you’ll be happy!) DESCENDENTS!!!! When I discovered The Descendents at 14, anything over 30 seemed ancient to me, and it also seemed like a place I would never be. My parents weren’t even 40. Yet, here I am. In less than six months, I’ll be 40. It was never supposed to happen. I’m definitely not in the “Fuck, Yeah!” category regarding this. I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t care. I Do!

 

beth beach 1
14 Year Old Me At The Jersey Shore

Traversing a decade is strange and an often sanctimonious mile marker for most. It’s not quite as momentous at 20. It gains some steam at 30. At 40 you feel like you might derail…but you know in the back of your mind that you won’t. The worst is over. Or that’s what they say.

On my 20th birthday, I was chain-smoking and watching D.O.A play at The Firenze in Philly. That club burned down. I’m not saying that we did it. I’m also not saying that we didn’t. At 30, I was on a solo surf trip in Pavones, Costa Rica, keeping time with a local golden boy who originally hailed from the Carolinas. On a jungle bike ride one day, a storm was closing in and the coast was humid. The chain became off kilter on my bike and the golden boy stepped up to the plate. As his hands took on a charcoaled colored grime from the grease, I watched him brush his hair from his brow and chest, leaving a trail of oiled sweat dripping down his unrealistically (yet very real) sculpted torso. It looked like an ad straight out of surfer magazine, except that I hardly fit the situational female role normally appropriated for those pages. I had no complaints. 30 was Good.

There’s a book somewhere about how everything some guy needed to know he learned in Kindergarten. I happened to have learned everything I needed to know from the Descendents. The Book of Milo lights my way. Past, present and future. Line by line, I give you the dumbfounded, decade defaulted wisdom I’ve ascertained to tackle the question: What’s it like to be old? (keeping theme with the 14-year-old me who thinks the 39-year-old me is over the hill)

 

beth philly
20 Years Old. South Philly with My Buick Regal.

 

DESCENDENTS LYRICS

“When I Get Old”

What Will It Be Like When I Get Old
Will I Still Hop On My Bike, And Ride Around Town
Will I Still Want To Be Someone, And Not Just Sit Around
I Don’T Want To Be Like Other Adults
Cause They’Ve Already Died
Cool And Condescending, Fossilized
Will I Be Rich Will I Be Poor, Will I Still Sleep On The Floor
What Will It Be Like When I Get
What Will I Be Like When I Get
What Will It Be Like When I Get Old
Will I Still Kiss My Girlfriend And Try To Grab Her Ass
Will I Still Hate The Cops And Have No Class
Will All My Grown Up Friends Say They’Ve Seen It All Before
They Say Hey Act Your Age And I’M Immature
Will I Do Myself Proud Or Only What’S Allowed
What Will It Be Like When I Get
What Will I Be Like When I Get
What Will It Be Like When I Get Old
Will I Sit Around And Talk About The Old Days
Sit Around And Watch T.V. I Never Want To Go That Way
Never Burn Out Not Fade Away
As I Travel Through My Time Will I Like What I Find
What Will It Be Like When I Get
What Will I Be Like When I Get
What Will It Be Like When I Get Old

**********************************************************************************************************************************

Well, it will be weird. It will be unsettling, unfair, confusing, prolific and complicated.

I still hop on my bike. I still ride around town. I want to be someone more now than I ever have. Sitting around isn’t an option.

I still don’t want to be like other adults because I’m nowhere near dead.

I’ve been what I thought was rich and I’d definitely be considered poor today. The beauty of this line is the realization of how much my definition of wealth has progressed over the years. I lived a life once where I had thousands of dollars sitting around and even more locked up in accounts. I lived in fear of it. I couldn’t spend it. It wasn’t honest and it made me feel the poorest I’ve ever felt because I was without spirit. I was baseless. I was lost. To be rich is to be without ego and to be able to provide for yourself and for those within your means to help. Today, I am rich.

I’m not above sleeping on the floor. Or in the dirt. It still happens.

The next line is only contentious because I would never use the monikers of “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” anymore. “Partner” suffices. It’s not typical of me to be anyone’s partner anymore, but if I were to be fortunate enough to find a woman again that I could call a partner, then yes, I intend to grab her ass when we kiss. And she better grab mine.

I’ve never thought it was punk to hate the cops. I’ve had mostly positive experiences with them. I’ve been able to talk my way out of many incriminating circumstances. As for class– I can turn it on. Those who know me well know that I was a fine dining server and sommelier for many years. I wore a suit and tie to work. I spoke of the fine, slated terroir of the Rhone and I wore my hair in a bun like Lilith from Frasier. They never saw the sheathed tattoos or the narcotics in my breast pocket. They slipped me hundreds as I pretended to know their country club gossip. Class isn’t something that I acknowledge. It’s subjective. To me, it looks like lying.

I definitely do myself proud. I disregard what’s allowed. It bores me. My intentions are as poignant as they’ve ever been.

I do sit around and talk about the old days. I don’t watch TV. I didn’t go that way. I’m only burning brighter and I won’t fade away.

Lastly, as I travel through my time, will I like what I find? The verdict is still out on that. There’s really so much to consider. Politically? No. Artistically? Perhaps. And on…and On…

 

beth philly 1
20 Years In South Philly.

 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Mike says:

    Cool post,
    writing about one’s travels, and life experiences is truly a captivating artform. Kerouac was pretty darn good at it, and so are you!
    Keep up the good work!
    BTW, and for those that don’t know, Pavones is one hell-of-a Left.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thehatefulnotebook says:

      I went to surf Pavones because of the book In Search Of Captain Zero. I didn’t get into it in the blog ~ but I knew after reading that book that there was nothing a grown man could do that I couldn’t. That wave humbled me and it was well worth it.

      Like

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