I hang out with my Grandparents a lot - my Grandad can barely write his own name and my Nan is going deaf. They rely on me and my family to read letters, sign forms, wash them, carry shopping and keep them entertained amidst cups of strong tea and fish pies.
Yesterday I carried my Nan's hoard of tea bags 'for the winter' home, she walked a head of me and for the first time I noticed something I'd never seen before - my Nan's invisibility.
People pushed past to get their lunch at Eat, others waited for her to step aside so they could get past. When we got to the bus stop a young woman was on the phone, she was the only young person sat at the bus stop. Nan wanted to sit down but the young woman carried on her conversation about Saturday night.
When the 24 bus arrived and the doors opened a young lad jumped on - he'd obviously been there first and felt it was appropriate to use this power and ignore the 20 elders behind him with their daily shop.
The dynamic on the bus was even stranger - a woman in her 20's huffed that I asked her to give up her seat for my Nan, a few stops later a woman got on with two dogs - she tutted that my Nan's trolley was where she wanted to put her dogs.
The sad thing is I don't think any of these people realised what they were doing but more shockingly I don't think any of them even saw my Nan - people seem to be blind to those over 60.
My first job in the arts was working with older people so maybe I'm a bit more conscious of elders but with out sounding old fashioned - have we forgot our manners?
This problem goes further than buses and high streets - My Grandad is in and out of hospitals and clinics more than Dr Christian has had hot suppers. Doctors shout at my Grandad because apparently he's deaf being over 70 - me and Grandad laugh. They also ask me how he's feeling.... 'why don't you ask him?' I respond.
Our unelected government are also at it - my Grandparents may have to move home or forfeit some of their £53 pension under the new bedroom tax plans. They have two bedrooms and due to their various health problems they sleep in different rooms but money bags George wants to tax their 'spare room'. This has only caused panic and fear they will lose the home they've lived in since the early 70s. They've also lost the winter fuel allowance - I understand times are hard but if we can't help older people keep warm but find millions to build an Olympic village in Stratford then I think we've got our priorities mixed up.
This is a sort of non-blog about age and some frustrations I wanted to air. I will do something about it! I have plans for a major body of solo and Scottee inc. work next year that address' our attitudes towards elders and our obsession with youth, but we can all change this culture now by doing one thing - the next time you see an older person - recognise them.