I know I sound like someone who just arrived and I am eternally gushing about how much I love this and how great that is, but the one thing that really stands out in this place is the People.
All of them... even when it is not all about me, how nice they are to me, how they smile at me, how helpful they are with my stumbling Spanish... I watch the way they are with each other and they always touch my heart with their ready laughter, the passion with which they speak and deal with things and the way they are with children.
When we first arrived, I noticed right away how people seemed to have Manners.. remember manners? when men let women go through the door first and people looked out for each other, someone would pick up something you dropped and give it back to you with a smile.
Even the young'uns, the young teens who generally are still wild animals waiting to be domesticated, will be respectful of adults and especially of the elderly.
I saw a kid, shirt tail hanging out of his school uniform, friends all standing around laughing and talking, stop ... walk over to an elderly lady, take her arm and walk across a busy street .. She kissed his cheek, he smiled at her then ran back to being a rowdy teen with his pals. It was all I could do not to grab him and hug him and tell him to tell his mama how proud she must be !
Some visitors comment on how people stare .. I noticed it when I arrived but it did not bother me, I have been stared at before .. my husband used to tell me, they are just looking at you because you are so beautiful. ( and anyone wonders how we have remained married so long?) and here, you know that the ladies will be checking out your shoes and just seeing how you are dressed, what women are wearing in other towns, in other countries.. comparing and just being feminine.
Now the men, well, they are like the men all over the world, they look , they admire but they are gentlemen about it. They might catch your eye, they might look away, they most likely will smile and just keep on walking.
I lived in New York City. I all too clearly remember walking past a construction project and dealing with the sounds coming from those men .. I was known to take the long way around to avoid walking past that sort of gauntlet of rudeness.
Here, they might stare, they might admire, they might have lustful thoughts, but you don't hear about them.
Because we walk our dog each day on the same streets and walk the same blocks, most people know us. We are just part of the place for them.
Now when the garbage men come along to pick up the garbage, they might wave when they catch my eye, but no yelling, no remarks, just a person acknowledging another person.
I could sit and People watch here all day long.
I get all warm and fuzzy over the young women with the babies.
I think that in a few years, if I age as gracefully and as well as some of the matrons in this town, I will be lucky.
I love watching elderly women with their friends.
They might look old to us but these women are really a bunch of 18 year old girls in old woman costumes, laughing, gossiping , trading stories and probably checking out the old guys walking by.
At the Milongas where they go each night or each weekend, you will see elderly people sitting around tables, laughing, talking and dancing Tango until the sun comes up. I would be asleep under the table, they are ready to go have breakfast somewhere with their friends!
I think we moved to the right place if I want to be somewhere that old people are still valued and who can still have interesting lives.
Because, you know, I have a feeling that sooner or later, I am going to be an Old Person.