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Booted Guygration

It's beautiful, really. As predictably as heliotropes turning their deep-purple heads to watch the sun fall from horizon to horizon, as predictable as the pained grunt coming out from under my daughter's covers when I turn on her bedroom light.

It's the morning Old Guy Migration.

As I'm driving toward town to drop off the Baby Goddess, half a mile past our driveway I see the first of them. A rangy man with white hair and a flowing white beard, wearing jeans and a long-sleeved shirt and a big floppy straw hat. He's walking with the help of a long stick, presumably used to deal with any of the more-pants-than-kid young toughs who might give him trouble. One flick of his stick and those pants are down for the count, allowing Grandpa time to escape.

Another few hundred yards down there's another one doing what I call "jaggering." It's the old guy jog/stagger where the feet are lifted very high and the arms jiggled around with each tottering step. The effect is topped off with ridiculously short running shorts, showing off blinding white thighs and tube socks pulled all the way up. A terrycloth sweatband keeps the white hair out of the face, although the beard is allowed to billow out behind.

Past him, there's the backpacker. Again the blue jeans and the straw hat, but this one has a backpack attached to him. It keeps him from hunching over as he leans on his stick.

Closest to the destination is the guy in the vest. He's wearing a vest because he left his house at least half an hour earlier than these other guys, when it was still dark and cold out. He's also got on hiking boots, and his floppy straw hat might be in his hands.

The destination is the coffee shop on the main road. They'll all go in and get a cup of coffee, maybe a bran muffin, sit down and start clucking and cooing amongst themselves like the biddy hens they are with their gray and white plumage. Then they'll move to the low brick wall in front of the fire house, nodding to themselves and the passers-by, hoping to catch glimpses of the pretty checkers inside Johnnie's Super.

Later they'll make their way a block further south and hang out in front of Joe's Bar. I don't know that they ever make it inside, but I've seen them all on the bench outside, blocking up the sidewalk and still arguing about whatever it was they were arguing about at the coffee shop hours earlier.

Once the heat of the day has passed, they start heading back home. Either they'll stop at Johnnie's and get themselves something to eat, or they'll amble home and eat whatever their wives have made them. I'm starting to think that the entire ritual evolves because the men retire and their wives look at them after that first honeymoon-like week and say "Well? What are you going to do with yourself? You can't just sit around the house all day."

And because of this, I am treated to the spectacle of the morning booted guygration. Lucky me.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 31st, 2005 11:57 pm (UTC)
I dunno, I kind of like the idea. I get the impression that there's nothing to make retirees age faster than sitting around doing nothing all day. So from that perspective, "You can't just sit around the house all day" sort of means "I love you and I don't want you to get old and die too quickly". And similarly, these guys may spend all day hanging around a coffee shop and a bar, but they're returning home to their wives every night.

Granted, this isn't the same thing as spending time out and about *with* their wives, but still.
Sep. 1st, 2005 09:03 pm (UTC)
Somehow, that's really cool.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )