Neighbors Gala and T

“You’re fat.”

“I think I gained weight these past 2 months, Aussie. There’s lots of comfort food for Lori, including lots of mac & cheese, cookies, cake, anything to get her to eat, with the result that she eats a little and I eat a lot.”

“I want to be fat.”

“Aussie, being fat is hell on the joints. That’s why I have to watch what you eat.”

“Who watches what you eat?”


“How come you’re more successful watching my food than your food?”

[Groan.] “Aussie, I’d love to lose weight like Miranda. Remember Miranda, who walked with us yesterday?”

“Boy, is she in good shape for someone her age! And you could see that she used to be really cute.”

“You know, Aussie, it’s a problem that we keep on comparing ourselves to how we were when we were younger. Like you said, she used to be really cute. Is she not cute now?”

“At her age? Are you kidding?”

“We often say: She still kept her looks. Or: He’s so young looking. Or: She’s heavier than she used to be. Or: He’s so good-looking for a man his age.”

“Or: She doesn’t walk dogs as long as she used to.”

“My point is, Aussie, when we describe older people, we compare them to how they were in the past instead of appreciating them just as they are right now.”

“That’s because things are always worse now than they were when you were younger.”

“That’s not true, Auss. And just to remind you, you’ll soon be 7. That means you’ll soon enter middle age.”

“I’ll be stunning at any age.”

“Could be, Aussie, but for different reasons. Right now, you’re stunning because you’re a wicked smart-ass, you run fast, and you seem to always find your way home.”

“You never had a dog like me, right?”

“There you go, comparing everything to the past. Let me also remind you that when you run during thunderstorms, you don’t find your way home.”

“That’s because I panic. How do you find your way home when you panic?”

“That’s a deep question, Aussie.”

“Forget I asked.”

“The point is, comparing ourselves or others all the time to how we were in different times of our life, especially to how we looked when we were younger, is little value.”

“What would you say about Miranda’s face?”

“Aussie, I would say it’s a landscape of hills and valleys.”

“I’d say it’s way more wrinkled than ever. What would you say about Jeannie’s hair?”

“Waves in the rain, Auss.”

“Gray, dull, snaky, like Medusa. She should color it like before.”

“What a terrible thing to say, Aussie.”

“What do you say about 90-year-old Herb’s ears?”

“A little bristly. You?”

“Spiny like a porcupine. How do you dress?”

“Elegant in black, Aussie.”

“Like death foretold. Loretta?”

“Impish, spontaneous, fun. How would you describe Loretta, Aussie?”

“Enroute to dementia.”


“Enroute to the grave.”

“That’s quite enough, Aussie. You’ve clearly decided that older people are unattractive.”

“In comparison to how they used to be.”

“Can you look at me without comparison of any kind?”


“In a year, you’ll compare me to how I was now. What’ll you say?”

“That you were pretty.”

“So why can’t you say that now?”

“Because it’s only true in the past, never now.”

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