Gero-Punk Adventures: Field Notes from an “Ero-Punk”

An essay by guest Gero-Punk

 Jennifer Ortiz

Image Earlier in the day, I had spoken with a friend about relationships at various periods in the life course. We discussed how intimacy assumes a certain wisdom that experience and growth cultivate and nurture. As I approach my twenty-fifth year of marriage, I do encounter that wisdom. Most often, it occurs through the unspoken, in glances and gestures. So when I stood in line for a local music performance, I didn’t anticipate the opportunity to experience two distinct journeys on that precious continuum.

This is what happened:

The doors hadn’t yet opened for the concert. We found our way to the end of the long line. I assumed a comfortable stance and was soon absorbed into a fragrant summer’s evening.

Piercings, husbands; Hemlines, dates.

I watched as people waited. Unlike groceries or renewed car registrations, this line mirrored a semblance of song and rhythm. Chords of chatter circulated through westerly breezes. I could pick and choose which hues of others’ lives to experience. I focused instead, on the air around me. A first date couple stood at our backs. Caught up in lively talk, they roamed in boundaries of personal space and awkward curiosity.

Fingertips, aware; Visceral, known.

His arm enveloped the contours of her shoulder – the forty-something couple in front of us. His hand did not merely rest upon her upper arm; it gently held it.  She wrapped his waist. Her hand settled in his pocket. Not a first date. They spoke with, not to. Eyes tenderly engaged in depths of resonance. Vocals, like soft notes, existed only second to tacit intensities. Her hand slipped under his shirt.  An intimate energy surrounded this man and woman as we waited in line.

Learning, journeys; Maybes, yeses.

“I hit a dog the other day,” she said. “I felt so bad.” “Wow, your roommate is so…” he said. “I know why so many people love her – she is so…” “Oh, sorry, go ahead. Finish.” “Well, she’s so nice,” he continued. Ouch, I thought. They are the fumbling words and zippers and buttons; stick shifts in the way and uncertain kisses with awkward noses; Trojan packages that won’t…fucking….open and irritating over-touching of inner arm skin; missed calls and unintentionally sarcastic texts.

Motion, perception; Fervor, delight.

He tilts his head towards hers. With the free hand, he places it on the nape of her neck and under her hair. She kisses his lips. He lets the hair fall through his fingers and marvels in the supple strands. The line begins to move. The couple advances in synchronicity, moving right in time. They are the words and gestures, keenly attuned touch and response; bedrooms and lampshades and down comforters; wine glasses and sticky-pad love notes.

We sat for the concert.

Place, moments; Stages, time.

Jennifer M. Ortiz is a social observer and Progressive Era historian. She holds a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies from Marylhurst University, and has worked as a writer for the past several years in the non-profit sector. Jennifer and her husband live in Portland, Oregon, with their three sons.


About Jenny Sasser, Ph.D.

I am a freelance educational gerontologist, writer, community activist and facilitator. I am former Chair of the Department of Human Sciences and Director of Gerontology at Marylhurst University. I joined the faculty as an adjunct member of the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program in 1997 and since that time, I've been involved in designing many on-campus and web-based courses and programs for adult learners, including in Gerontology. As an undergraduate I attended Willamette University, graduating Cum Laude in Psychology and Music; my interdisciplinary graduate studies at University of Oregon and Oregon State University focused on the Human Sciences, with specialization areas in adult development and aging, women’s studies, and critical social theory and alternative research methodologies. My dissertation became part of a book published in 1996 and co-authored with Dr. Janet Lee--Blood Stories: Menarche and the Politics of the Female Body in Contemporary US Society. Over the past twenty (or more!) years I have been involved in inquiry in the areas of creativity in later life; older women's embodiment; sexuality and aging; critical Gerontological theory; transformational adult learning practices; and inter-generational friendships and cross-generational collaborative inquiry. I am co-author, with Dr. Harry R. Moody of Aging: Concepts and Controversies (now in its 10th edition!) and first author, also with Moody, of the recently published Gerontology: The Basics, as well as author/co-author of several book chapters, articles and essays. I am on the Portland Community College Gerontology Program faculty.
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1 Response to Gero-Punk Adventures: Field Notes from an “Ero-Punk”

  1. Helen says:

    Beautiful!! Makes me thankful for the 30 years with my husband.

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