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The Sandbox Writing Challenge 2018 — Exercise 9

Imagine wanting to impress this woman. What would you say about yourself?

(And here’s a couple bonus questions for after you answer the prompt. How do you think different expressions on the picture would have affected your answer, or do you? What if it had been a group of younger women or a man or group of men? Really am trying to make a point here!)

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Ok. So I’ve been putting off writing this because I was trying to see this woman as someone other than an interviewer! I wish I WOULD have picked a different pix this time around. Oh well. I’m just going to go with it…

When I was 19 I had occasion to make a trip to JC Penney’s fabric department. It turned out to be a very frustrating excursion. The department was full of older ladies (Lordy, I shudder to hear that word now given my 66 years!!!) buying material for quilts, as I heard several of them mention. They were probably in their 60-70’s. I stood at the counter with a bolt of fabric waiting my turn to be helped. But each time the cashier got close to me in line another “older customer” would come in, walk in front of me and ask for help. The cashier would then leave the desk and go with said lady.

This was in the days before numbering systems. I must have stood there for 45 minutes and watched this happen several times. I got angry. And I was NOT the only younger person in the fabric department being ignored. Finally I had enough, and not being one who likes confrontation, I just laid my stuff on the desk and left.

That little experience left me with the impression that if you weren’t an “elder” (for lack of a better way to put it), then you were not given the same attention and respect. That was the first time I realized there was such a thing as “‘ageism.”

And ageism is NOT dead. However, it has done a flip-flop and now it is the “elders” among us who basically get ignored and passed over. Commercial advertising is DEFINITELY not attuned to us. (Have you seen all those flowered, cotton prints from the 60’s they’re trying to push at us fabulous old babes??? OMG!!!) Jobs (thus my reaction to this picture as I had a few job interviews after I quit work n 2003) are nearly impossible to come by once you hit 60, though that age could be even lower now. Employers would rather hire young people who are willing to work for less rather than folks who have experience, have served on the front lines, and whose financial needs are more complicated. (Please understand this is just MY opinion and my experience. Yours may be completely different.)

At any rate, I figured out rather quickly there was no way to impress these head-hunters in today’s job market. So I quit looking for a job. Would my reaction to this question be any different if it had been a man or a group of people? Maybe back in 2003. But I’ve done a lot of digging in my cave since then, and I’m a bit more self-confident than I was way back then.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to ageism, I challenge you to start noticing how older people around you get treated. After all, you’re going to be there someday. Maybe you can help turn things around.

Thank God for Helen Mirren. She is one of the classiest older ladies in the world! I adore her!!!

Who else would you include in that category???

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Picture Sources:
Woman — www.telegraph.co.uk
Helen Mirren — mydomaine.com