Monday, November 29, 2004

I'm Getting Old

Down the decades every year
Summer leaves and my birthday's here
And all my friends stand up and cheer
And say man you're old
Getting old

--lyrics from "Old" by Paul Simon.

I've learned only one thing since I turned 30; being old isn't about how you feel but how you view the world. It takes years to amass a certain degree of knowledge and usually the only people who can comprehend the scope of your wisdom is another equally old person.

Yesterday, we threw a surprise 75th birthday for grandmother. She's as lively and spry as I've remembered her all my life. It was some of her friends that I had grown up listening to and joking with that suddenly seemed so old. It was the men, namely, who didn't seem to be aging as gracely as their wives. Granted, these people are in their late 60s and 70s now so they were already "old and gray" when I was, say, 10. It saddened me to see some of them beginning to slow down.

On the way to the party, I teased my grandmother that Portuguese people are lazy. She laughed and said, "Oh, you sound like Camara". Apparently, my grandmother's friend, who is also Portuguese claims that our people are the most inefficient workers in Europe.

Growing up, I always thought Camara was his first name. Actually, his name is Manuel. Camara is his last name. Since I was very young, I always loved talking to Camara. He always took the time to ask me about school, the A's or whatever was going on in the world. He seemed to have such of rich memory of how things you use to be. What factory use be there and what restaurant use to be here. Facts that only come with experience and not from a textbook. I think I'm beginning to gain some of that experience.

It came to me, not as anything important, but from baseball. The ballot for next years baseball Hall of Fame was released today and I can clearly recall every single ballplayers' career in my mind. I'm getting old.

When I was 12, I thought Wade Boggs was immortal. It was superhuman to me, at that age, that Boggs rarely swung and missed let alone never struck out. I use to imitate Don Mattingly's crouched stance and quick stroke many times in Little League games.

I sat in the bleachers at the Coliseum many times in the summer of 1986 watching a rookie catcher named Terry Steinbach become a staple of pennant-winning A's teams. Tony Phillips even lived in Castro Valley for a time before he became one of the most versatile players of his era.

I use to have a Steve Garvey poster in my room for years. I watched pitchers that specialized in one wicked pitch like Burt Blyleven with his curveball and Tom Candiotti with his knuckleball. Willie McGee was one of the best slap hitters of the 80s, if not, one of the goofiest-looking athletes in both his physique and facial features.

Before there was baseball on the tube every night, there was either the A's, Giants or the Braves on cable. I watched Dale Murphy nearly everyday in the summer. Watched him win two MVP's and still wonder if he was really that good. Jim Rice seemed so angry and still and struckout a lot.

I'm getting old. Soon I'm going to be like Camara telling Sean and Luke about how some new amusement park in Fremont use to be the NUMMI auto plant or how the Uncle Richard use to take me to the Coliseum on Hegenberger instead of the new park in Santa Clara. I also repeat myself now and then.

After my grandmother finished opening her presents I overheard Camara in a huddle of his friends say, "You know the Portuguese are the laziest people. I'll get you the article the next time I see you."

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

So, has your view of "old" changed from people in their 40's to people in their 50's now? Definitely share your experiences and memories with the young'uns...but know that you are really not "old". Remember what your friend Bill said..."When our memories outweigh our dreams, we have grown old." -William J. Clinton. You still have many aspirations to fulfill...Love, K

pryncess711 said...

Ok this is ONE of the times i am going to stick up for the portuguees... not ALL of them are lazy... look at my stepmom.. she cleans her house every weekend. She does the laundry, cooks, irons clothes and makes my dads lunches for the week by sunday night.. She is a hard worker..when she goes on a long distance trip lets say in January she is packed by Septmeber.. Is it because she is not from Portugual, but from Africa?? just kidding.. she drives me crazy!

and how do you explain my brother.. he is only half portuguee and he is the laziest son of a bitch!! let's just say.. who knows??

oh and by the way take care of that cough old man!! Welcome to the 30's...

Pops said...

Old? you're a pup still- I was your age when we met-
You know your old when you have to switch states because you've met everyone in CA already.

Pops said...

Old? you're a pup still- I was your age when we met-
You know your old when you have to switch states because you've met everyone in CA already.

Anonymous said...

What a great site
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