Things Older People Do to Make Us More Comfortable in Their Presence

April 23rd, 2009

My mother, 81, is hard of hearing, and will, when seated next to new people at a gathering, turn to each in turn and say, “If any of my comments tonight seem absurdist, don’t take it personally.”

Sociologist Setsuko Nishi, 86, will tell a new acquaintance who finds himself staring at her lovely, slightly tremulous fingers, “I have benign hand tremors, so don’t worry.”

Dolly Parton, 63, will, according to Jesse Green’s story in New York this week, sometimes grab a man’s head and push it straight into her cleavage.