When I am an Old Woman…You Should Watch Out

Several times today the words, “When I’m 80…” came out of my mouth. Now granted, I may not see 80, I could be struck down by some disaster or disease, the world could end, a NYC cab could plow over me as I’m walking across the street on a green light that gives me the right of way, the possibilities are endless. And, who knows, I might make it through the next 50 years to live out the words I spoke today.

When I am 80 I will give up caring what other people think, for real. I will say what I mean and mean what I say all the time, even if it means stepping on someone’s toes. I will also wear purple muumuus, which leads me to think of the poem below.

 

Warning


by Jenny Joseph

WHEN I AM AN OLD WOMAN I SHALL WEAR PURPLE

With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.

And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves

And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired

And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells

And run my stick along the public railings

And make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain

And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens

And learn to spit

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat

And eat three pounds of sausages at a go

Or only bread and pickle for a week

And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry

And pay our rent and not swear in the street

And set a good example for the children.

We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?

So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised

When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

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About djunapassman

I teach yoga, write, and edit. I live in a Brooklyn neighborhood that is changing faster than I can, or care to, keep up with. Manhattan still beckons me to her island a few subways stops away, reminding me of when I lived amongst her daily hustle and bustle.
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