I turn fu-fu-FIFTY next month. I know this because a) I’ve begun to receive mail from the AARP, b) clerks at stores have begun asking me if I want to take advantage of their senior citizen’s discounts just by looking at me and c) my children are speaking to me (or should I say AT me) in loud, slow voices.
The latter recently occurred when I was trying to turn on the TV. You may wonder why turning on the TV is an issue, but in our house, there are two remotes. One turns on the TV and the other changes the channels. I don’t understand why one remote couldn’t do both functions, but apparently, that is not the case in our household. I’ve been told not to question this.
“Mom,” my son said so deliberately the word took on two syllables.
“First (again accentuation the word to assure I was paying attention) you push the power on this remote. Go ahead. Try it.”
“Okay, good. Then set the remote down on the couch. Go ahead. Try it.”
Again, I complied.
“Good,” Brad said. “Now pick up the other remote and chose the channel you want.”
I was rewarded with an “atta girl”.
He has since laminated these instructions onto an index card for easy accessibility should he not be around to guide me.
One of the first signs of aging, with the exception of the mind going, is the loss of near sightedness. I say with the exception of the mind going, because that has been an ongoing occurrence way before my entering the fifth decade. Beginning with my choice in husbands, the loss of mental astuteness has been a problem for awhile. Walking into a room and wondering what I was supposed to be doing there, brushing my teeth with Clearasil thinking the tube was toothpaste, using oven spray instead of cooking spray and placing full cartons of milk in the cupboard have been happening for a long time. The true sign of aging has been the vision aspect of growing old. Reading labels in the supermarket, for instance, is a chore. If I want to read the ingredients in say, a can of soup, I need to either a) back up about five feet or b) beckon some youngster to read them for me.
I know men find the notion of getting older to be a problem but they handle it in different ways. Just this past St. Patrick’s Day, I witnessed usually normal men my age doing “meatball shots”. Now, if you haven’t had the soul-lifting experience of meatball shots, let me explain. After a lot of green beer, one of these fine gentleman discovered that a meatball fits firmly into the bottom of a shot glass. You would have thought he discovered a cure for cancer! The high fives and celebratory salutations made the evening. I saw a tear stream down the face of one man, obviously overcome with emotion.
Then, if that wasn’t exciting enough, this same forty-something decided it would be a good idea to fill the same shot glass with vodka! So, picture this. A meatball in a shot glass with a layer of vodka covering it. AND THEN THEY DRINK IT! After one man downed one of these concoctions, his wife turned to him and said she’d never kiss him again. It is obvious these men are not concerned about maturing.
Regarding the notion of aging and feeling old, hooking up a computer is probably as close as you can come to feeling old and stupid. The problem with this is two-fold. First, no one my age grew up with computers and therefore, doesn’t speak “computer-eze”. Second, the person on the other end of the line trying to help can’t claim English as his first language.
So, you have two people with distinct handicaps — one with no understanding of computers and the other who is trying to explain a difficult concept in what is supposed to be English. I had a very nice and patient man named Mamesh or Samood or whatever help me connect my laptop to the internet. This was truly a lesson in frustration for both of us. After an hour and a half, I asked him if he could just come over and set it up himself. Considering he’s probably in Mumbai or Manilla, he just laughed.