The Geezer Dome

Today, the NFL championship games take place.  I have no dog in this hunt as the New England Patriots are currently “rebuilding” their former championship status.

Me?  I’m trying to do my own rebuilding.

Welcome to the surface of bubble wrap.  Some folks like to pop their bubbles–I like to photograph them.

A pattern is emerging here, I’ve noticed.  This past month, the first month of the new year, the new decade, I’ve been photographing useful objects around the house that are often taken for granted or even tossed out when their usefulness is over.

Small hand tools.  Vegetables.  Now, bubble wrap.

What is going on here?

I’m thinking it’s my 65th birthday coming up in February.  Oh, and if you want to retain your limbs,  don’t be telling me it’s just a number.

This isn’t a ‘you are as old as you feel’ moment.  This is an honest-to-god society looks-at-you-as-a-geezer moment AND this turnstile leads only in one direction.  You can go on a cruise or climb K2 if you are able and want to, but infinity is no longer a biological defense against nature.  High seas? High altitudes? Nope.  I’m more interested in journeying to states that legally approve the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

If I wanted to forget this birthday,  I couldn’t.

My mailbox on a daily basis has another reminder.  Medicare.  Medigap insurers.  Social Security.  I know the US post office is in trouble financially but it’s not because of my age group.

As I have poured my creative efforts into revealing a hidden beauty in those things we often overlook in our lives, I have filled out forms, talked to 800 lines, received my Medicare A & B card, my Blue Cross Blue Shield Medex card, and countless lesser but unmistakable confirmations of geezer status.

I’m not kidding–if Obama wants to reorganize his political team,  I suggest taking some folks from the Social Security Administration.

This is yet another ongoing series. The Art of the Overlooked, and, of course, I’ve realized along the way that  it is my usefulness and value that  I am looking for as I scan vegetables, old hand tools, bubble wrap.

Well known to those of us who are female and over 50, a cultural invisibility comes with the territory.  Some women try to surgically make themselves visible again but to those who wait without the scapel, when we reach 65?  Miracle.   We are once again visible.

That’s the good and bad news.

Our individual visibility is now as a group herded into The Geezer Dome and while I’m going to try to get out of the stadium occasionally, most of the time, I’ll probably be trying to get into that red zone all those NFL analysts palaver about, but so far?

I’m not exaggerating one bit when I tell you that this artificial turf is bad on the knees.

a©Pat Coakley 2010


**Select photographs from this blog and my wider archive are available for sale at

17 comments on “The Geezer Dome”

  1. Is there such a thing as a “Societal Value Scale”? If not, I think we should create one…I mean a hard copy of the one that floats around in our heads from first grade on.

  2. awesome! a “found art” in black in white. I will look at bubble wrap differently. especially this week when I’m done drowning it because we’re moving (only down the road about 15 miles.) Awww. I don’t wanna be invisible when I turn 50. that’s not a rule is it? I hope Our president can fix all the glitches in the system soon. He’s got a loooonnng road ahead.

    • Renee, hope that you experience it differently but from my vantage point, the invisiblity factor for women after 50 is pretty much universally experienced. It’s how we react to it that varies so stunningly! You, I know, will fight it tooth and nail. Now, I’m confused about your moving just 15 miles away! I thought you were going much further away. I’d better get my eyeballs to your site to see what’s going on!

  3. Pat. SVS we could call it but then it might get confused with a venereal disease or something. I think women have one of those scales hard wired into their heads from a very early age and I don’t even think it floats! Would that it did! Maybe it could float away. It is always there, it seems to me, which is actually one reason I do enjoy getting older…I can at least de-fang it!

  4. While I know you are dead serious (bad choice of words, huh?) you made me laugh here. I think anyone in their right mnd who is over 60 thinks all those age jokes are plain dumb. It gets serious now! And I can assure you the invisibility factor applies to men, too, especially once one drops out of the career track. The young bucks in their suits look right through you.
    I don’t feel like old bubble wrap yet, but from the looks of your image above, it might not be so bad!!

  5. Pat! Happy Birthday! Feb is coming right around the corner. My Aquarius friend or Pisces if its later, both lovely, (my brother is an Aqu, dad was a Pisces) well anyway you made me laugh too. but not everyone sees u that way ha ha certainly not the least bit invisible no pun intended. but geezer the word itself is funny, so i think i’d like to be one if theres any choice about it. ”Hi, I’m one geezer who is glad to meet you” I’d like to say that. It would be fun to say that at a campaign fundraiser. Or “This geezer right here in front of you hello wants to know about your position on (whatever lets say health care issues)” and “What, do you think I’m some invisible geezer? I vote dammit and I have a big extended family to say the least”
    The picture is gorgeous. you have made it so interestingly jewel-like. Like gemstones enmeshed. Light glassy and sparkly and imagery inside every circle like a collection of illustrations for a story. Its gorgeous I say again.

    • My niece just informed me that this is National Bubble Wrap Day! Honestly, next year I’m submitting this photo for consideration!

  6. Did you know that today is National Bubble Wrap Day? Yes, the last Monday in Dec. every year. I heard it on NPR this AM. Apparently, it was invented as a wallpaper idea!

    • Nooooo, I did not know THAT, Al!! C’mon, is my timing incredible or what? It’s like being good at eulogies. A once in a lifetime moment and then it’s gone.

  7. It’s interesting how different people view age. I know what you mean about invisibility but it’s such a shame because with age comes experience and wisdom and compassion.
    I tend to look at aging in a completely different way because I lost a good friend to leukemia when I was 21. I remember him often because of the important lessons his death taught us. The one that’s relevant here is that every extra year I have on this planet is one that he didn’t get, so instead of getting blue about getting older, I try not to take the extra time for granted. Not always easy, I admit. Especially when faced with ignorant fools who are ageist. I wonder how many extra years they’ll have to be on the planet before they change their views?

  8. Oh for goodness sake, Pat knock it off with all the self pity!

    Talk about non productive behaviour! We are all here for a good time, not a long time. Make the best of what you’ve got.

    Years ago when I was 26 and women cared about what I had to say and hung on my every word, I saw a news article about a group of people aged between 60 and 80 who cycled across Canada. It shocked me because I realised that up until that moment, I thought such things were beyond me but when I saw what they had done I thought, hey! That means I could do that!

    It inspired me to quit my job and do a 1700 mile cycle trip myself.

    Time to count your blessings and be thankful you’re not stuck under some rubble in Haiti now that the rescue effort has come to an end.

    Harden up!

    • Razz, what in heavens have you been eating down there down under ….alligator?? As I noted in the post to those who might want to tell me to harden the f are about to lose a limb. But, my sword is rusty as well as my joints so I’ll have to sharpen it up before striking.

      Seriously, with all due respect to the appropriateness of your HTF sentiments on other occasions, this is not one of them.

      You are not reading this post correctly perhaps because you feel insulated from this sort of vulnerability due to having a younger wife and partner or perhaps you simply deal with fear differently– or what I suspect is more likely, I don’t believe you have found yourself responsible for many years for the care of frail and aging parents.

      Suffice to say, Razz, I was not caring for elderly folks able to cycle across Canada. I’ve written about this before so I’m a bit surprised you don’t get this but perhaps you’ve just forgotten.

      So, I’ll just remind you with a baseball bat to the head, that you might want to read this post again in light of that realization. And this one from a while ago, written about my caregiving experience::

      Many caregivers’ experience make them freaked out about their own aging. They have seen first hand the difficulties and the challenges.

      Also, It is a much more subtle journey for those of us on our own to face this next chapter of our lives. We’ve got to put on our big girl underpants for sure AND we’ve got ti imagine who exactly is going to help us with those undies. Your comments suggest you’ve not given a second’s thought to any of this imagining cycle ready aging..and that is fine..we all are brought to our knees in different ways.

      I don’t wish it on you, believe me.

      Concerns about aging and dying from a female who is housed, clothed and sheltered may seem self indulgent to you, but I’ve got a black belt on this subject and have obviously seen a far different future than your cycling seniors.

      And, do you know what?? I hope you never understand this type of vulnerability. I don’t wish it on my enemies never mind someone I wuv like you!

      But, no kidding, lay off the alligator will ya??? It makes you snarky.

  9. Of course you’re dead right and I stand corrected.

    I guess I just see you sometimes in a spiral of despair and I wish I could some how give you a little impetus to help you get back to thinking about the good things in your life.

    Now I’m going to sit in the corner facing the wall because I’ve been bad.

  10. You can come out of the corner if by some miracle that dessert you blogged about this morning appears on my doorstep! Now, that is a subject you gave a great deal of thought to and it looked marvelous.

  11. It’s a discussion of the Titans over here in the comment section. hee hee!

    People get invisible at any age if they let themselves.

    Who trusted God was love indeed
    And love Creation’s final law
    Tho’ Nature, red in tooth and claw
    With ravine, shriek’d against his creed

    (Alfred Lord Tennyson’s In Memoriam A. H. H., 1850)

    If I’m lucky enough to get to 60 I’ll be scratching and clawing like a bastard … same goes for all the years that might follow.
    Invisible or not: it’s all a circus to watch.

  12. “People get invisible at any age if they let themselves.”

    I’m gonna count to 10, OK? And hope to the baby jesus that my ladylike circus titan makes an appearance.


    oh, frig it…sorry that elephant just left a load on your shoe, PR.

  13. I’m not wearing shoes. hee hee!

    … but I’ll participate in this circus … because I don’t know of any others.

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