About 20 years ago, I worked in an office with an extraordinary group of people, many of whom were women my age.
When you spend more than a third of your day with the same people, you become close. These women and I had our children together and, in the ensuing years, we shared everything–the challenges of working and rearing children, strategies for making it through each day with our sanity, recipes, more laughs than can be counted and oceans of tears. Some of these women have passed on, a sad reality that has brought the rest of us even closer.
Once, in the office lunch room, I suggested that maybe someday we would all live together, like the Golden Girls, which was at the height of its run on television. I painted a picture of us sharing a house in Florida, driving around in a big convertible, with our head scarves tied tightly beneath our sagging chins.
In The Golden Girls series, which ran from 1985 to 1992, the characters played by Bea Arthur, Betty White and Rue McClanahan were in their early 50s. Estelle Getty played Sophia, who was 70, tops.
The day before yesterday, I had lunch with three of my old girlfriends. It hit me then that we had, alas, become the Golden Girls.
After settling in according to who needed to sit on which side of whose good ear, many parts of the conversation still had to be repeated. There was, after all, background noise in the restaurant.
Next came the organ recital. We discussed our health screenings, what conditions are plaguing us, which body parts ache and what meds we take. We talked about our feet, debating which are worse, problems with the plantar or those of the metatarsal.
We talked about our emptying nests and commiserated about all it has taken to help our hatchlings fly on their own. We also heard what it’s like to have an adult child move back home with all of her children.
We heard news of parents and more former colleagues who had passed.
We acknowledged the challenges of dwindling incomes and investments and compared notes on which chain restaurants offer two-for-one entrees on which weeknights.
We laughed at all the old lady behaviors we’ve adopted, such as finding a blouse we like and buying it in every color.
I shared that I had recently bought half a pie.
What brought our lunch to a close was a conversation about television–what shows we like and the fact that you can now can get TV programming through Netflix, which streams through the Wii.
That was it. Just the idea of “streaming through the Wii” sent us rushing to the ladies’ room, where we shared a final laugh and called it a day.
I haven’t bothered to take the Which Sex and the City Girl Are You quiz that’s going around in anticipation of the new movie.
Instead, I will start my own quiz and ask my peers to consider: Which Golden Girl are you?