Day 3 in St. Louis. I seem to be encountering things that are old, including:
The people in my apartment building. So, I live in an old-people building. Not a retirement community (no Early Bird dinner specials at 4:45 pm, and so far no evidence of rampant and endless bingo games), but a safe and clean apartment building that happens to be home to a large contingent of seniors. In fact, a St. Louis native and dear friend who grows a mustache named Murray told me his grandmother used to live in this building. I think at least half of the apartments do house people’s grandparents, but strangely the other half seems to be young professionals. My elevator in the morning is full of med students and residents on the way to the nearby hospitals (why hello, Doctor!), and I’m subletting from a law student I’ve never met who is also presumably under the age of 70. I’m ok with sassy seniors, and selfishly I’m pretty sure there’s a terrific upside to this mixed population – everyone knows old people aren’t loud (peaceful home environment, no noisy neighbors to worry about) and often are home a lot (very secure built-in neighborhood watch) and use little rolly carts for groceries (I’ve already borrowed one to bring my own groceries up from the underground parking garage – score! One trip instead of three!).
Also old: the gigantic tortoise that lives at Grant’s Farm, an amazing and free zoo/park that used to be Ulysses S. Grant’s home, and now is owned privately but leased by my Summer Employer and open to the public. We interns toured it today as part of a new project. But back to the tortoise – apparently this particular old fellow used to give kiddie rides decades ago, and in retirement now likes to be scratched under the chin. I was only brave enough to pat him on the head. His neighbor Bud the elephant, in addition to being old, weighs 13,000 pounds and is possibly the largest African elephant in captivity today. Other highlights of the tour: hand-feeding wild elk, watching baby buffalo frolic, getting indignantly honked at by a pair of stunning swans, and of course seeing some of the gorgeous Clydesdales who live there. Really a great way to spend the morning.
Older than the tortoise and the senior set in my building: The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. My old-people apartment building is directly across from a hundred-year-old gorgeous cathedral. I’ve yet to go in, but it’s on the list for this weekend – the mosaics are apparently dazzling art pieces.
Even older than the senior set, the tortoise and the cathedral: Forest Park, 134 years old and a half mile away from apartment. Who knew that St. Louis has a park that’s 500 acres bigger than Central Park? Not me! I’m excited to explore more this weekend.
Old stuff might just be cool.