I’ll try being nicer if you try being smarter!

Kids are overrated for saying blunt, unexpected things. If you really want to be shellshocked, you’ve gotta get into a conversation with an old person. They’ve seen it all, and they don’t care anymore, which makes for some great sound bytes. The following is a classic example.

The boyfriends grandma came out with the announcement last week that she is moving five hours away. Which is weird, cuz she’s getting older, she lives on her own and has a new grandchild on the way, and is moving farther away from her family whereas most people move closer when they age. But she’s an extraordinarily independent woman (she got divorced at 60, and took back her maiden name) so I have no doubt she’ll fare just fine.

So we went over to her house for a last meal before she leaves, and consumed platefuls and platefuls of dumplings and yummy Hungarian chicken. During this meal the topic of conversation was the move, among other things. Some of the classics she came out with:

  • “I cannot stand to live near my daughter. She is a liar.”
  • “I’m going to die soon. I need a change.”
  • When we explained to her that yes, we’ve been together seven and some years now, but no, we aren’t getting married because it’s too damn expensive and it doesn’t make a difference anyways, her response was, “Good. Marriage is just a piece of paper. Stupid.”
  • When we discovered a picture with someone we didn’t recognize and asked who it was, she goes, “My sister. Give that back!”     Us: “You have a sister?”   Her: “Sister. Give that back.” She then hurriedly stashed it into an envelope and flung it into a box.
  • “The cheaper apartment was near a funeral home. No way I’m living there.”
  • “I’m not taking my phone with me. It has too many buttons. They are all programmed to people who are now dead.”
  • She doesn’t have any female grandchildren, so since this new grandchild is supposed to be a girl, we asked if she’d come back for the birth. Her answer: “No. I will be too busy. She will still be a girl in a few months. I will come then.”
  • “I don’t know why my daughter can’t get herself together. I did when I got divorced, and I was sick in my head! She has no excuse. She’s just crazy.”
  • “I’ve seen all of Toronto. Nothing to see, so I move.”
  • “Stop eating now. I want some for tomorrow. Here, I take it away.”

She’s awesome. Seriously awesome. Although it took me three years to be able to even know if she was speaking English or Hungarian, now that I understand her english, I’m going to miss talking with her.


Comments on: "From the mouths of elders" (3)

  1. Dude, I totally know what you are talking about. My grandfather has Parkinson’s, and he’s really starting to fade. He mumbles a lot, and while he’s still really a sweet person, it’s generally difficult to carry on a conversation with him that isn’t really more about humouring him than anything else. But every now and then, he’ll just come out and say something out of the blue that is absolutely fantastic. The last time I was at my grandmother’s house, as I turned to go down the stairs, she jumped up and lifted up the back of my shirt. “Oh my god, how big is that tattoo?! Let me see that?!?! What is that supposed to be?!?!” In the midst of my grandmothers somewhat awkward antics (she’s the type to state ‘oh look, you have boobs now’ or ‘this is maria, she’s married to a black man’) my grandfather suddenly pipes in: “It’s a picture of Hitler!” This wasn’t a spell of dementia, this was him being funny. And now I know where I get my sense of humour from.

  2. Um, well, she made no mentions of Hitler, but some things were quite priceless. How in the hell does your tattoo look like Hitler? This is the first thing that popped into his head?
    Dude, I love old people.

  3. apparently, yes, it was the first thing that popped into his head. and it’s not as though he fought in the war or anything – he was excused due to his terrible eyesight. so he’s not a war-obsessed kind of old guy.

    another time, we were all lingering in the doorway on our way out, and somehow or another, the latest scandal with a teacher having an affair with her teenage student came up. we all threw in our awkward comments, and then after a moment of quiet, after having been quiet and non-sensical all day, he suddenly came up with ‘well, i guess they’re teaching them SOMETHING in school these days.’

    old people are awesome. people in their 50’s are either awesome or miserable fucking bastards.

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