Friday, April 24, 2009

Isolating People By Age

Recently my Dear Husband and I went to a concert at a 55+ community.   For those who don't know about these communities they are manufactured home communities with restricted deeds such that you have to be over 55 to live there. Most of the people are retired.  They have all kinds of community activities to keep the residents occupied, including a community chorus.  One of my husband's customers is in the chorus. She was supposed to do a solo in the concert and she invited my husband to attend.  He dragged me along. I didn't want to go, and didn't really intend to cooperate, but he guilted me into it, so I went.  

The concert itself was actually a surprise.  The choir was not as horrible as I expected and a couple of the soloists could even sort of sing.  The selection of songs was very good for the most part, and I rather enjoyed parts of it. The pianist was just fabulous, and  would go to one of her piano recitals anytime.  

But, the whole experience was jolting in several ways.

On the one hand, it made me miss singing in a choir. Singing in choirs is a whole lot more fun than listening to them.  When you're singing in a choir you think it sounds like the Robert Shaw Chorale.  When you're sitting in the audience you know it sounds more like the church choir on the Andy Griffith Show.

Nevertheless, I miss singing.  I want to figure out a way to bring singing back into my life.

On the other hand, I had mixed feelings about the whole show. It was a very well done production. The women who were in charge were probably music teachers before they retired.  All of the singers had probably sung in community choirs and/or church choirs for years. Their voices may have been somewhat ravaged by age, but they were very professional in their attention to the director. I thought it was cool that they spent their time doing something so healthy and creative.  I loved that.  

But, it was kind of creepy to be in a place where everybody was the same age.  I saw exactly one kid in the audience.  It was not surprising that somebody's grandchild would be there. What was surprising was that there was only one. The rest of the grandchildren were probably "up North" someplace.  The creepiness went beyond fact that there were no extended families there.  It was a little like The (Elderly) Stepford Wives.  The women all dressed similarly, within a certain range. There were the flashy old broads with the sequined shirts and the casual old broads in Capri pants and sneakers, but they all wore makeup and they all wore earrings (dangle earrings). Most of the men were wearing striped golf shirts, with white or khaki pants. I was creeped  out by the fact that these wonderfully talented and capable people had isolated themselves from the  rest of society.

As much fun as planning that concert was for them, it seems to me they might have done better by putting on a show at a nearby elementary school that would include the children, or entertaining at a hospital or nursing home.  

My bottom line is that I have a problem with people who wall themselves off in gated communities that amount to upper-crust ghettos.  

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