Everywhere I turn these days some middle-aged person is engaged in Indecent Public Stretching.
What is going on? Everywhere I turn these days some middle-aged person is engaged in Indecent Public Stretching.
Hey, I totally understand that, with age, our infrastructure turns stiffer than roadside raccoon. And I am well aware that, to avoid injury, it’s wise to bend and stretch. I get all that.
What I don’t get is why we have gotten so loosey-goosey about where we limber up.
Since when is bending over backwards in the bank lobby OK?
Since when is rotating our neck while someone is trying to take our food order acceptable?
Since when is cracking our metacarpals over and over in a movie theater hunky-dory?
I’m not saying I don’t give my back a good twist now and again. Or that I never kick the kinks out of my knee. Or that dropping to the floor, curling up in a ball and rolling around like a potato bug on happy dust is out of my comfort range. All I’m saying is that if I am going to engage in Indecent Public Stretching, I at least seek privacy in remote corners or behind women with huge purses.
See, it’s distracting to onlookers, and downright maddening if you’re trying hard to communicate something important to the “stretchee.” Case in point: When I was attempting to convey critical information to our electrician about where to put outlets and, during my technical soliloquy, he kept rotating his neck like he’d just installed overheads in the Sistine Chapel, I was floored. I’m not kidding. It was too much: him stretching, me talking, him not paying attention, me wanting to strangle him with an extension cord.
If that doesn’t take the Gumby cake, how about this: I was at a party the other day when a woman spotted a giant fitness ball in the corner. Suddenly oblivious to her surroundings, she retrieved the ball, draped herself over it like a wet towel, and proceeded to stretch her midsection from here to Timbuktu. Don’t get me started on the sounds she was making.
Back in the day, we baby boomers were encouraged to “let it all hang out” — to, you know, do or say exactly what we wanted when we wanted. Personally, I never “let it all hang out” back then, fearing the dire consequences. Oh, all right, I may have on one occasion, but what happened at that Tina Turner singing contest stays at that Tina Turner singing contest.
But back to Indecent Public Stretching: Perhaps it’s time we boomers gave this “do-whatever” directive a rest. We are role models for future generations, after all. Plus, we are not as invisible as we think. Just ask my daughter. She can usually be found 20 paces behind me.
Anne Palumbo writes for Messenger Post Media in Canandaigua, N.Y. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.