Del Boca Vista revisited

Nothing makes you ask yourself “what kind of an old person am I going to be?” more than spending a few days in a Florida Condo Association. 
I’m visiting Mom at her winter hiatus, God bless her she has earned it, and I am being bombarded with flashbacks of Del Boca Vista. 
Any Seinfeld fans out there? 
I so enjoyed the Seinfeld episodes that featured the delightfully and absurd antics of the retired Senior Citizen. If you’re not familiar, they had great fun with early dinners, over tipping, the political shenanigans of Condo Association leadership and the ever-present busy bodies that everyone kisses up to but secretly fear and despise. In short (or can I still call it that), stereotypes of the retired life. 
After spending 4 days here, I am not so sure that the stereotypes are entirely unearned.
Before I go on, I want to clearly state that I love the elderly. Anyone who knows me can confirm that. When I was a child, I spent as much time as I could with my Grandparents at the Senior Center. My grandmother loved to show me off and once that wore off, I found myself enamored with the wisdom, sage advice and overall attitude of the seniors. Some were grumpy but most were lovely. I spent most of my time with the Veterans and I had earned a middle-school level education of history by hearing the war stories, edited for my age of course.
This fondness of the elderly carried on through High School as I frequently visited shut in neighbors and volunteered at the local senior center. 
In College, my favorite professor was an elderly gent who taught “The Psychology of the Elderly”. I thought the course was eye-opening about the challenges faced by and the particular traits of the elderly. The professor was a charming, youthful old guy and I became very close with him. I truly was saddened by his death. 
I have maintained a healthy interest, and perhaps more importantly, a respect for the old. Having many a challenge to my own mortality, I am aware that reaching old age is a privilege denied to many. Therefore, when given a chance to hear a story, I listen. When a different perspective is available, I take the opportunity to learn it. But I have learned one valuable truth; there are several categories of elderly; among them are the forever young and enjoying life type, the “I do my best to keep up and tolerate life and it’s changes” type, the “I don’t want to learn anything new I’m too old” type, the busybody with the nose in everyone’s business, and the “get the hell off my lawn type”.
In one small development in West Palm, in less than one week, I have met them all. It hasn’t been all bad, many people here are a delight. And then some are tolerable. Some are humorous in an unflattering way. One was bad, in fact there were two.

Sunday I was walking the dog. I was on a paved path, well within common areas, and we walked past a first-floor condo with a screened in Lanai with 2 small yippy dogs. At the sight of us, the small dogs barked their tiny balls off at us, prompting the owner to come out and reprimand me for having the nerve to walk by her unit and upset her dogs. The sheer absurdity threw me a bit and I asked if she was serious. She was. I shook my head in disbelief and walked on, ignoring her fading chirping.
The day after I was again walking the dog and I encountered what appeared to be a pleasant elderly woman walking up and down a row of cars. When close enough I offered a “good morning”. What I received in turn was a angry lecture about “outsiders” who “don’t belong” parking illegally in what I can only assume was in the general vicinity of her guest spot? I shut myself off to it and when she attempted to engage me further I said, “I have absolutely no interest in any conversation about whatever this is” and kept walking. I’m pretty sure I heard a pronounced Hmmmph!
That was the worst I have encountered.
Somewhat less uncomfortable but annoying nonetheless is my mother’s friend who likes to boycott events (big stuff like movie night and appetizers by the pool) to send a message that nobody cares about to someone who doesn’t understand the message or the reasoning behind it. To make it worse, she tries to dictate who can be friends with whom, with the threat of excommunication looming over them if they don’t comply. Why?
But to balance things out, last night I had a cocktail with 2 gents hiding from their wives at the pool and we had an amazing conversation. They were charming, pleasant and enjoyable to talk to. I chose to sip my drink and predominately listen. The military history, the jobs they held (one of the gents was the national distribution manager for the first incarnation of the Cabbage Patch Doll (remember what a sensation that was?). The other was a former executive director of Habitat for Humanity. These gentlemen were a delight to be around. 

They definitely are the cream of the crop of Del Boca Vista. The other are interesting to say the least. My respect for their generation and obvious longevity remains. But the question arises…What kind of old person am I going to be? That’s a whole other post.

11 thoughts on “Del Boca Vista revisited”

  1. PS
    Love Seinfeld to this day!
    I can only hope to be a more pleasant older gal…. Yea, finally a scheduled second knee replacement on May 31st. Chronic pain turns any dude/gal into a “Bitch on wheels” no matter the age. Just sayin’, speaking from experience. I do picture you under the umbrella, with those two dudes, nodding and listening intently with a grin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well good luck on the knee replacement. Let me know when we can meet up with Dawn again. And maybe I’ll tell you some more about my stay in Del Boca Vista lol


  2. It all rings a bit familiar from experience with parents and grandparents living part-time in retirement communities. One of the reasons my wife and I vowed we would never retire to an old farts only existence.
    We enjoy our neighbors in the area we rented to. We have young couples and immigrant families. Retired folks and people still working jobs. We all get together a few times a year for a neighborhood potluck, there are people who are musicians who come and play for the crowd. The parties last deep into the night. Even us old folks can stay up late once in a while. Old stories, old jokes and new, laughter and tears. It is quite a bit of fun.

    The key element is that many of our services, light shopping, cafe’s and the beach are all a short walk away. It is far easier to walk than drive and try to find a place to park. So, lots of people eventually figure that out and walk. Walking is what is key. Walking we are available to all front steps and gardens. The short half mile walk to town has taken more than two hours sometimes and gone from a walk to the post office to a late lunch with fronds that ran into the early evening.

    I can see the appeal of the retirement community where you mostly walk to the clubhouse/pool, play pickle ball and other light outdoor games, maybe even golf. Gatherings for cocktail hour then potlucks and music and dancing. I can see why that is appealing and got to see it in action with grandparents, great aunts and uncles and parents. It’s not all that bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes I loved watching Seinfeld. I just hit 3 score and 10, but don’t feel it, already widowed, but definitely intending to avoid retirement villages and developments of various sorts. At my end of our little road we range from zero to 90 years and we are also on a walking/cycling route to school. But I have lots of friends older than me and admire the ones still going to health classes and walking miles or those not so lucky with their health, but still good company. Amusingly, the older people get the less they care what they say, which can be funny, but in those who were already selfish and grumpy it’s not pleasant.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My very first job was packing sweets where my Mum used to work, and the other ‘packers’ were all pensioners. They had some stories to tell, and I made them laugh at the corny jokes Id heard on the radio and my ‘young ways’. I’ve always got on with people older than me (most of our friends are now in their 80s) , and your categories are spot on. I hope now I am older and a pensioner myself, I’m not like that lady with the dogs but one of ‘the good gals’.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh man, you have got me laughing to the point of coughing! Del Boca Vista!!! I am picturing YOU walking your dog in plaid shirt with a jaunty matching cap. Keep these posts coming brother. I needed to bark like a seal. Glad you got to hang with the “ hiding hubby’s”. That seems like the cherry on top of this visit.

        Liked by 1 person

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