Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The kind of old woman I want to be

Two loveable fatties who double as candlesticks found in Gilda's boudoir, a gift from her daughter-in-law Lanelle Abueva Fernando

In a matter of six months, I shall be turning sixty and zero, the age that'll entitle me to wave a senior citizen card at the pharmacist, bus conductor, waiter, supermarket checkout counter girl and best of all, at museum admission counters.

More than those privileges, I am more concerned with the kind of "hip crone" I want to be. I count myself lucky because I have living models who, as one of them puts it lightly, "love art and walkers."

I've shared meals with them, helped them out of cars, pushed their walkers that, when turned around, convert to seats when they tire. Gilda calls hers a kariton. Sylvia knows the long technical term (sorry, I can't recall, evidence that my memory is becoming unreliable).

Gilda and Sylvia viewing "Mexico: Fantastic Identity, 20th Century Masterpieces, FEMSA Collection"

What I've grown to like is being invited to their gallery hops. One took us to that heavily guarded rare exhibition of Mexican art (Rivera, Orozco, Tamayo, Kahlo) at the Ayala Museum. Picture-taking was strictly prohibited, but I managed to sneak a shot of the women on their walkers intently looking at and discussing an artwork.

We made a special trip to Crucible Gallery a few hours before Manuel Ocampo's solo show opened, mainly out of curiosity over what million-peso paintings look like and why collectors are falling over one another to acquire them. Gilda turned to Sylvia to say, straight-faced, "O, Ibyang, eto gusto ko. Bili mo para sakin."

Serious about their art appreciation. Or maybe their thought bubbles read, "But I can paint better!"

Art, humor, walker, but with my heft, my mobile seat may look something like this. And I'll need a retired but still well-buffed male dance instructor to push me around.

So I say to Father Time as I move towards my bonus years, "Bring it on!"

Armchairs with rollers at Gilda's living room Photos by Babeth Lolarga

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