Evelyn Hannon: Aging Disgracefully


Under My Red Cape I'm URBAN WOMAN!

Wrongdoers everywhere fear me

You know how little kids tie a towel around their neck to fashion a magic cape and become superheroes? Well secretly, in my mind's eye, I am a super hero, too, with a bright, tomato-red cape and an undercover badge that announces in bold, embossed silver: URBAN WOMAN. 

If only in my imagination . . . I am fearless as I set out each morning to right the wrongs committed by selfish, arrogant city dwellers.

There is the guy in the BIG SUV who is following me in my little (undercover) Volkswagen Beetle. He's the guy who is honking his horn as soon as the light turns green. He wants me to get going. Immediately. He has to move. He has places to go and people to see. In fact, he is nothing but a great big urban bully.
In my mind's eye, as he honks, revs his motor, and practically touches my rear bumper, I put my car in park. I step out of the car in my cape and approach the vehicle. As he opens his window to bark at me (a silver-haired woman), I show him my badge and boldly say, "Pull your car over to the curb." I write a ticket for $500, hand it to the big bully, get into my little car, and drive off. If only . . .
My Urban Woman beat also includes the subway, where I am vigilant looking for all the discourteous, thoughtless people who push to be first on the car to snag the empty seats. With iPhone buds in their ears they check their messages, oblivious to anything else but their own comfort. So what if there's a pregnant woman or an elderly gentleman standing right in front of them. Know what Urban Woman does? I show them my badge and show them to the subway door. Let them cool their heels on the platform waiting for the next train. Let them think about their Walk of Shame. Maybe tomorrow they will be more aware. If only . . . 

My lunch hour always takes me outside the high schools. So much to do there! Thanks to my strength training, body building, and karate practice (in my mind's eye), this URBAN WOMAN Grandma is ready for what has become a daily chore. I grab two bullies by the scruffs of their necks and make them apologize to the teens they are harassing. Then I move on to the litterers. Showing them my badge, I demand that they pick up the candy bar wrappers that they've simply tossed to the ground. And what about those Coke cans left on the steps? PICK THEM UP, PEOPLE, and put them in the trash bins where they belong. Perhaps the next time I come around I'll have less to do? If only . . .

Each night I go to bed exhausted and dream sweet imaginary dreams of the good that URBAN WOMAN has brought to her city. It thrills me to learn that since my recruitment many years ago, there has been a huge decline in bullying, road rage, littering, and rudeness. There's even talk of ending my assignment by 2015, and asking me to hand in my tomato-red cape and URBAN WOMAN badge. I smile in my sleep delighted to know that my services will no longer be needed. If only!