Old Ladies Don't Wear Socks - His Porcelain Soldier
As I was sitting in the waiting room of my doctor's office yesterday, I observed. The room is always full of elderly folk everytime I go in. I don't know what it is about my Dr. that his patients consistent of elderly folk... and then, me of course. But they do. I suppose I fit in though, with all my chronic aches & pains.

As I observed (for a good 30 minutes or so) I actually enjoyed myself. There is nothing like making the time pass by watching old people wait in a waiting room. I know that sounds sarcastic, but let me explain...

I first noticed Florence. I don't know that Florence is her real name, but she looks like a Florence, so that's what we'll call her. When I came in, she had one of the receptionists sitting next to her in the waiting room. They were chattering, whispering in each other's ears, and giggling like a couple of school girls.

Everything about Florence was perfectly & maticulously placed. She wore a long skirt & matching shirt. She had on light make-up that gave her wrinkled cheeks just the right rosy-red effect. Her hair was up in a french twist, and the top of her head was covered in blonde curls to follow the twist. It was the most perfect twist and curls I'd ever seen. Not a hair on her head moved. I figured she must've been wearing hair pieces, because I don't even think 20 year olds have hair that perfectly beautiful (Florence will be 70 in March by the way, as I overheard her say.) But she wore the hair well.

She wore jewerly... a lot of jewelry. She wore big earnings, big necklaces, several bracelets, and really big rings on her fingers. You could hear the "clink-clink" as the metals brushed against each other each time she moved.

She had the attitude and the walk to match her attire. If I had to imagine what a southern belle in the South looks like, I'd say they look like her.

She was cute though, and friendly. She liked to chat with the receptionists and cut up with them. She would also start chatting with anyone who sat next to her.

I noticed she wasn't wearing socks. She wore stockings instead. And as I began to look around at all the other feet in the room, I noticed that I was the only woman wearing socks. There must've been about 10 elderly woman in the room with me. Not one of them had on a pair of socks. They all wore stockings, even the ones wearing pants. One woman was wearing a plain jean skirt like me, and even she wore stockings. At first I thought," don't these women's feet get cold? I must be the only sane one in the room."And then I realized, I'm the only one in socks. So I became self-conscious. I crossed my ankles and began to tuck my feet up under my chair.

I started looking around at the others in the room and observing them. There were about 3 who were couples. I thought the older couples were cute. I think I heard one ask his wife if she remembered his Geritol.

I saw one man walk in pushing his wife in a wheel chair, with her oxygen tank in tow. He could barely walk himself. She had short, red curly hair...obviously a wig. They sat next to Florence. I heard them making small talk. Florence asked them what their favorite places were to eat. He began going down the list, and then said that he just picks it up & takes it home now... since the wheelchair. His wife wasn't wearing socks either.

Florence mentioned her husband a lot. I think he had passed away. She spoke about him in this manner..."when my husband was.... my husband used to..." etc.

One thing I noticed about the couples was that they seemed to move as one unit. They each knew the other's persons next move or next word, and they were in sync. I noticed that one couple didn't even have to make complete sentences with each other. Husband would start to say something, and before I could even tell what he was saying, wife would nodd her head, smile, and say okay... and vice versa. It was like they had their own secret language, like listening to the oriental workers at the nail salon, and wondering if they're talking about you.

I started to imagine what these women looked like when they were my age. I imagined black & white photos neatly placed in their albums back home, and then I thought to myself, "I hope my computer never crashes, or no one will have an album to go through when I'm old."

I thought about the socks none of them were wearing. There must be a reason. I thought, "A different time and age." And then I wondered, what was that time and age? A time when socks were only for men... a time when just going to the dr's office meant looking your Sunday best and looking like a lady. It was a time when couples stayed together for so long, they literally became one unit. What was divorce anyway? A time where photo albums weren't a mouse & a click away, but a set of books on a shelf.

Yes, times have sure changed. I keep telling myself I'll back up all those photos on the computer and then I never seem to have time. These women must gasp to themselves when they see the young ladies today walking through Wal Mart in their pajamas. My stringy hair must look awful just hanging down. Now I know why Grandma always used to tell me, "get your hair out of your face." I get the impression that not pulling your hair back somehow wasn't lady-like at one time. None of these women let their hang like mine was. Each of them had fixed it neatly. And I get the impression that socks were something men used to wear, like a lot of other apparel we all wear today.

I know times change... but for the life of me, sometimes I just can't figure out why.

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