Monday, February 02, 2015

The Old Person in the Room

We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game - from "The Circle Game", Joni Mitchell, 1968

Yo soy un hombre sincero
De donde crecen las palmas
Y antes de morirme quiero
Echar mis versos del alma - from "Guantanamera", José Fernández, long time ago

Bus Stop, Third Avenue, Winter 2014
I looked up. Three pairs of hands were stretching toward me. New York hands. Different shades of color human.

I'd slipped on some ice on the curb as I was about to cross the road. I'd gone flying and my left leg was half-twisted beneath me,

New Yorkers, being New Yorkers were quick to help. I staggered into an upright position and thanked them. "Yes I was OK," I answered their concern.

As I walked away it occurred to me that the concern was perhaps because I looked old. Frail even! Was this the beginning of the end? Could I expect more falls? I started thinking with alarm of those TV advertisement about old people needing to wear medical bracelets that send out help signals should they fall over alone in their homes.

"She's had a fall," I remember hearing old people say to other old people when I wasn't an old person.

It can't be. Baby boomers don't get old.

On the bus. It's freezing. The bus door stays wide open while "seniors" clamber on board maneuvering their walkers. God, don't let it ever be me.

The bus lurches forward. The people-with-walkers watch them spin around wildly. It's chaos. It's hell. I'm in a bus full of wet New Yorkers.

"Stop the bus!" one of them yells.

The bus lurches backwards and the driver and all the rest of the passengers peer anxiously out the fogged-up windows. Had someone been hit by a car? Fallen? A child perhaps.

The yelling-out person gets to her feet. "It's my friend Miriam," she explains to all of us wet people. "She left her hat on the bus." Those wet people who were young enough to hear rolled their eyes. The bus driver, a seasoned New York bus driver, patiently opened the door so that the yelling-out-person could call to her friend. The cold air streamed in.

Through the windows we can see a blur of a woman with a walker. She's looking puzzled. "Your hat, Miriam!" screams Yelling-Out-Person. "Your favorite hat." And eventually Miriam understands, and ever so slowly pushes her walker through the snow to the open bus door.

The hat handed over, Yelling-Out-Person turns in triumph to address us. "It is hard enough to find a decent hat these days," she announces. With a Dame Everage smile and New York chutzpah.

It takes me forever to get home. The less time we have left on this earth, the more value it has. Time is becoming a scarce commodity. It is precious. When you are three years old a year is a third of your life and it takes forever. Those long summer holidays when we were children. Those long years at university, and later when our children were infants.

Then suddenly a year is nothing. The equivalent of an infant's minute.

Time is no longer on your side, Mr Jagger.

I watch the news on my iPad. Some CNN crap. I click on the video link and there's an ad for a car I couldn't care less about. A car! More likely I'll be in the market for a walker already!

What's this? "You can skip this ad in five seconds" in tiny writing on the video screen. Five, four, three seconds ... My life is ticking away before my very eyes. Bastards!

I stomp on the "x" with my mouse.

Killing Time.


Anonymous said...

It happens. The best relief I can find is exercise. I've never been a jock, but we joined a nearby gym in December, LA Fitness. At first we thought it must be French, but no, it's Los Angeles. Doesn't everyone know LA is California? Luckily it has a 25 yard pool, 35 laps (not lengths) to the mile. Already I'm up to 27 laps and always feel better for it. Yes, it's hard to drag myself there, but as we no longer have to work for 'the man' it not too hard. Still, it's cold walking into the gym with zories/flip-flops on 'specially when it's raining.
But as my old Iron Man friend in Manly, Max Riddington, used to say, "Punish the body!" So we punish our bodies - a bit. Then back home for a latte and brekky. Y'know, getting old in place isn't too bad.

Judy said...

I'm fighting my age as hard as I can.

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