Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Ageing in Queensland

I have a bigger post to write about my last trip – to industry-filled Gladstone in Central Queensland. But first I have to get this off of my chest: I am realizing that I am getting old.

Over the weekend I went to see a movie (Paper Towns, if you must know). The theater Colorado Meg, Bangkok Roshni, and I go to is a cinema not known for its pristine seats and clean interior. $6.50 per student ticket makes the grime and grease well worth it for us poor students trying to entertain ourselves responsibly.

I got into the ticket line and noticed a swarm of teenagers in front of me, taking up two lines. Being confused, I went up to ask one of the kids, “Sorry, are you in the queue here?” I felt the group straighten up a bit and quiet down. The kid looked down and slid out of my way, “No ma’am! Sorry!”


But the biggest shock was a few weeks ago. My upstairs neighbors are definitely young college students who are having a blast in their fancy apartment-away-from-home. They throw a lot of parties. The days don’t really matter to them, either.

One Thursday they decided it was a particularly good day to party with their friends. I was hearing elephants dancing and girls squealing for a few hours, and I thought to myself, “Don’t be the jerk who tells them to stop. They’ll seek revenge on you. Don’t be a jerk!” So I tried to deal with it, mildly intimidated that they’d try to fight with me about it, or get indignant. In my head, I was seeing them as my equals.

Midnight came and went, and they were still zoo animals while I tried desperately to rest for the morning commute to work. I became fed up.

“This is bloody Brisbane! They should either be at a club in the Valley, or sound asleep! There are noise codes!”

I resolved to go upstairs and nicely ask them to turn it down. I feared I’d end up getting in an unwanted fight or get some attitude I dreaded, but I craved sleep. I tiredly trudged up the staircase to their door. I knocked.

When I knocked, I heard a pause and a fast rustle of items behind the door. Someone opened the door, and another guy came to me, with a look of horror in his eyes. I saw in the corner people see me and hide behind walls and under counters. The place reeked of old vodka and freshly-smoked pot. I saw a terrified anemic girl sitting on a beanbag chair behind the guy.

“Hey guys, can you turn it down? I have work in the morning and can here absolutely everything you’re doing up here. Thanks.”

“Yes ma’am! So sorry!” “Yeah, so sorry! Sure thing!” “Have a good night, sorry!” And the door closed, and I slowly turned around and walked back to my bed.

I was stunned. Why did they look so scared? Why were they so compliant? That’s not like college kids…..OH MY GOD I AM THE SCARY OLDER NEIGHBOR! They saw me as that older woman they try not to upset because she could tell their parents or something. I looked like the older grumpy neighbor. They did not see me as an equal, but as someone to FEAR! This terrified me – I thought I was still young and fun?! When did my age become clear on my face? 

Am I that grumpy old lady people talk about during brunch??

Luckily they did quiet down and I got some rest for work.

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