Sunday, November 13, 2005

Old Age

I'm just finishing the book Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock, a book about a possible civilization that predated those we know of. It reminds me of the Japanese pride in the ancientness of their culture, as well as my First Nations neighbours who date their history here back into the clouds of time. Unlike new nations like Canada.
When I lived in Japan, everyone asked me my age all the time. It was a way of categorizing me quickly, as someone older than them, and thus in need of polite speech forms, or younger than them, and thus capable of being addressed more informally. I would like to have answered "autochthanous." a word I learned in a Classics class at USC long ago. The prof looked and talked like Gov. George Wallace on speed, and spoke many lost ancient languages. In a classroom of perhaps 300 people, he wrote the word Autochthanous on the blackboard and made us all say it together. He explained it as the word used by the first Greek explorers when they were travelling around encountering different civilizations. Those with creation stories, Adam and Eve, Osiris and Steve or whatever, were noted by the Greeks as having been there for a lesser or greater time than Zeus's kids in Greece. The people who had no memory or myth of their appearance as a civilization were called Autochtanous, independent of chronology. I love the fact people don't know my exact age (to the chagrin of the Japanese) but in the past year I have gone from being occasionally thought of as a younger person (by strangers) than I am to being recognized as a "senior citizen" and asked for my Senior's ID. The magical "Senior" age is still a few monthes away. I can't wait to start saving pennies on my bus trips!


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