How to be old?

Ewa Maria Slaska

I was invited to an event. It was in Neukölln which is since some years new hype of Berlin. Dark, wet, cold, late, Neukölln. Not a perfect combination, but OK, I was invited by one of persons making the event, and I promised to go, so I said to myself, go Ewa go. I went. I found the place looking like 25 years ago every evening location in Berlin. No colors, no pictures, everything grey or sepia, fancy trash&kitsch look. A lot of black dressed young people. The event will take place in a back room, which is quite empty. I am too early, as usual, so I find a perfect place, on a couch in the corner with a good view to speakers table. Two other women sitting at the both sides of the table, each looking at the display. Me too. A young man come to us, give some postcards first to one woman, than to the second one, explains something and goes away. I am bit surprised not understanding why he did not gave a postcard to me too? Hi you, I say, I would like… But he does not turn back to me. One of the woman explains something about him making an adv of an online journal or something like that looking for new authors… She gives me her postcard. But I do not want her postcard, I want to undestand, why I was a non existing person? No person at all.

But of course I know the explanation. I am old and therefore I do not exist. I do not know how he is able to judge it so quickly, it is dark and I have a fancy hut on, coming deep on my face, but it does not matter. I do not matter…

Five minutes after the time the room became suddenly full. My good place changes to an disaster. Many black dressed young people. Only young. I see nothing. Nobody sees me. Awkward. I feel uneasy, knowing I took a place of somebody who deserved it much more as me. They are pushing me from both sides to and fro. The event is in English, I do not mind, but I suppose it was not said on the invitation, the next sign this is only for insider.

A young woman says some nice greetings, OK it is an event for young generation but if there is somebody elder it means he or she is young. OK, nice, but no, I am not young… I would like to vanish or at least to go, but I am sitting squeezed between three or four other people in front of regular rows of chairs and all the paths out are blocked by stayers and sitters. So I sit… And listen to revelations revealing from and for a young generation…

In a break time I go… It was definitely the last time I went to such a place and to such an event. I am old and it is my time to be old. Never more I want to be confronted with such a pure exclusion.

I feel not good but it comes worse.

Then two days later I find in facebook a short text written by a young Polish woman about this event: Great evening with opposition journalists and politicians from Eastern Europe in Neukölln, Berlin. From Krytyka Polityczna/Political Critique X and Y from Hungary’s Kettös Mérce online newspaper – Z and V. And Berlin’s journalist U – always close to the pulse of the city! (sorry I took all the names away they have nothing to do with my feelings).

And that photo:

Why? Why such a photo? Underneath an explanation… There is an article in one Berlin daily about the event… The picture is chosen by the redaction, but not the comments:


The first comment: (…) Aaa, it is a black protest.
The second: Why? You do not like when the old show solidarity to the young? They also have daughters, granddaughters (…)
The third: No, but usually the German press ilustrates the texts about East Block countries with photos of an old sad women dressed like in the communistic time…
The last one: Grandma – she only forgot to dress properly for a contest…

Yeah… It is me. Go home Grandma, go home. You do not have daughter or granddaughter, so you have nobody giving you right to speak for and nobody needs you speeking for your own.

To be continued

One thought on “How to be old?

  1. No widzisz, w dzisiejszych czasach bycie mlodym jest ogromnym i niezwyklym talentem!
    A te mlode zadufki sa przekonane, ze one beda mlode az do poznej smierci!
    Viki Korb

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