You know you're old when...


Niki Tehranchi
by Niki Tehranchi

Hubby recently got into a minor car accident. Although he told me he was okay, naturally, being the panicky sort that I am, I decided to come to the scene.  Since there was no car available at the time, and he was about 2.5 miles away from home, I decided to walk it.  It wouldn't have been a problem except for the San Fernando Valley heat and pollution which makes an otherwise brisk walk kind of painful.  And the fact that there are no sidewalks in most residential areas since the concept of walking is so foreign in L.A.

So there I was, walking along, when a couple of good samaritans stopped by and asked me if I needed a ride.  So grateful to escape the scorching sun and be able to reunite with hubby sooner than expected, I jumped in without giving it a second thought.  Two minutes later, I reached my destination and waved goodbye fervently to the nice Hispanic couple who had so generously given me a ride. 

After ascertaining that hubby was okay, I was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief.  He was also happy to see me but also very worried. 

"How could you jump into a car with strangers like that? What if, god forbid... I mean, this is L.A.!" 

I looked at him in awe.  It had never even occurred to me that these people could be anything other than good samaritans.  Then I started laughing. 

"Don't worry, I am just way too old to be kidnapped!" 

Obviously, I was being very tongue in cheek but think about it.  There must be a moratorium on being kidnapped after you reach a certain age.  When you're a kid, and even more so when you're a teen-ager or young adult female, you are constantly being warned by everyone, your parents, your older siblings, your teachers, your neighbors, the 6 o'clock news, etc. not to talk to strangers, not to approach strangers and worse of all never ever get into a vehicle with anyone you don't know.

My mom was so paranoid at that fact that even though she let me walk to and from school by myself from the age of seven, she used to warn me never to get in anyone's car.  She went so far as to tell me that the devil (sheitan) can take many forms and it might be under the guise of a friendly, familiar face of a man or a woman that they might try to lure me in their car.  One day, my friend's dad came to pick her up and asked me if I wanted a ride.  This poor man had been a neighbor of ours for years and his daughter and I often had playdates at each other's house.  When he offered me the ride, he was with his daughter and two of his other children.  Nevertheless, I acted like he had the plague and would under no circumtance get inside.  He later joked about it with my mom.

Later, growing up, we heard many awful stories of teenagers being kidnapped and murdered by seemingly pleasant individuals.  In Canada, where I spent my teens, the most infamous news story was that of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka, a serial rapist/killer couple who looked like Barbie and Ken.  And then there were all those tales of date rape drugs being slipped into drinks at bars etc.  And then the vogue of serial killer movies that started with Silence of the Lambs and all its clones.  I was always so self conscious and vigilant as to be a tightly wound bundle of nerves whenever I went out, whether it was walking into a deserted parking lot, or walking on the street at night, or taking the subway, whatever situation you can think of.

I realized as hubby and I stood there, waiting for the tow truck to arrive, that somewhere along the line, I stopped thinking of myself as a potential target.  Maybe this had to do with transferring all that anxiety and paranoia onto my children.  Partly, it had to do with being in a state of semi-shock, with my focus being on reaching hubby as fast as possible, that made me unquestioningly accept the ride being offered.  Or maybe it simply had to do with aging, and the accompanying physical morphing from a nubile young object of desire into a respectable matronly sort, that made me stop seeing myself as a potential target for a depraved mind. 

"Really" I joked "Can you imagine Ted Bundy driving by and taking one look at my post pregnancy gut, my mom jeans, and my ever so attractive geek glasses and thinking to himself, geez, even I can do waaaaayyyyy better than that!"

Sometimes, you are reminded of your old age in the oddest ways... 


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Not only Ageism, I'd say...

by Monda on

in the same manner older men are not picked up or threatened by young female drivers!? Or are they?

You're welcome Midwesty.


Thanks ladies!

by Midwesty on

Appreciate your answers!

Niki Tehranchi

For sure I looked like a cleaning lady

by Niki Tehranchi on

Dear Anonymouse:

I was lucky enough to pass for a Hispanic cleaning lady for these two good souls to take pity on me.  I might add that none of the shiny SUVs or luxury cars that passed me bothered to give me a second look!

Niki Tehranchi


by Niki Tehranchi on

Monda/Midwesty: What an interesting issue you brought up.  I agree totally with what Monda says in that control is not always a bad thing, depending on the degree and the circumstance (Hope you don't mind my paraphrasing). 

Obviously, parents need to exercise certain control over their kids otherwise you'd see more toddlers in the emergency room than adults. As your kids grow up, it becomes thornier to balance control and letting them spread their wings.  My parents giving me a curfew was, I think, reasonable control.  My dad calling my friend's house 10 times in one evening to assure himself I am okay, was totally inappropriate!

Between spouses, we all exercise some sort of control only we call it "nagging."  I know I "nag" hubby all the time about not smoking, eating right, getting enough sleep, putting his seatbelt on etc. I do this because I am worried about him and I am honestly scared to lose him. (He has a very high stress career and pushes himself to the limit. Very early on in our relationship, he had an episode where we had to go to emergency room so maybe that has made me more vigilant than in normal circumstances. Subject of another blog!)  Him telling me not to get in a stranger's car is not going over the line I think.  Phil Spector hiding his wife Ronnie's shoes so she would not walk out of the house is more on the psychotic end of the spectrum!

By the way Monda Joon, I was of course being totally facetious with this whole blog.  Obviously the psychos out there do not exclusively target the young or attractive.  What's funny to me is that past a certain age, women stop getting warnings about the dangers of unscrupulous criminals out there, at least not like what they used to be bombarded with when they were younger.  Is that just another form of sexism? or ageism? or any sort of ism? LoL


Midwesty jan,

by Monda on

Control is not a bad thing, it makes us feel safe within our world. We warn our loved ones out of several protective/ adaptive needs, in the following ways (let me know what you think):

- as social animals, our emotional and physical wellbeing depends on the safety of our loved ones. It's in our genes. How we show it is a different story.

- habit of "issuing safety warnings" can become engrained in us as children. As Niki wrote about our moms' continuously reminding us not to accept ride or candy from strangers, is an example. When other life stressors are present (such as lack of proper sleep during postpartum for instance... also read: who's gonna feed our baby if Niki's kidnapped?) it becomes easier to revert back to those old messages, no matter how well we have in other times in life managed to make sense of them and keep their obsessive nature at bay.

- in couples as well-adapted and compatible as Niki and her hubby (from reading her blogs), partners mirror each other in their behaviors (mates' neurons over time create similar pathways). I have read from Niki about how she is available when her hubby needs attention. In this blog she walked down that hot unfriendly asphalt to see hubby was Ok. 

- Overall it's a matter of style of bonding, in both genders. Some take it too far like my brother-in-law who calls my sister every single night from Iran to make sure she's safe. They've been married 40 years, he very well knows his wife's self-protective resources but still can't control his anxiety. My brother-in-law is dealing with a lot of stress right now, and this is the way he makes Himself feel safe.  Which takes me to the last point on my mind:

- each partner may need to be reminded about how much they're cared for. It's about reciprocity in relationships, part of strengthening their bonds. And perhaps some residues of the old "stuff" in each of us, especially at times of crisis.

I'd love to hear Niki's take on your inquiry. Have a good day my friend.



Niki since Monda is here too...

by Midwesty on

Let me ask both of you:

Are issuing warnings an extension of control?



You know you're old when

by benross on

You know you're old when you remember the Shah!

Well, it depends which Shah you are talking about.


You know you're old when you remember the Shah!

by Anonymouse on

There are many things that remind you of when you're old, mostly having less energy or less tolerant of booze and liquor!  There were times when I could mix vodka and tequila and beer as chasers.  Now I just get excited by looking at the bottles and just fantasizing about them! On the occasions I naw-parhizi and go tequila crazy, the recuperation process the next day is way too much painful which makes it a once or twice event a year.

As for the ride, in Iran people often give rides to people who are either old or look like they could use a lift.  This is especially true in smaller cities.  I've seen the same gesture with Hispanic folks since they walk long distances to go to work and can use a ride and sometimes get one.

The good couple probably thought you were Hispanic!  Did they say Hola to you and did you depart by saying Muchas Gracias?!  Also, from what you've said about selling sunglasses and walking home alone at early ages, I guess you've developed a good sense of judging characters!  Still it behooves you to not accept rides!

Everything is sacred


Niki jan, let's not forget:

by Monda on

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. So never underestimate the sense of aesthetics in rapists! A few months ago I read on our local paper about this 67 year old lady who got kidnapped in a parking lot in bright day light... your hubby's being protective of the love of his life, do listen to him once in a while :o)