Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom (And Whimsy)

Posted on March 16, 2022 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with 4 comments


A real page turner. Sometimes I read the same page three times.


How did I become so inept at the age of 70?

Do I want to be 16, 25, or 50 again? Not really. Of course, I would love to have the confidence and agility that I once possessed but I would also like to win the lottery too! Neither of these is likely at my age. Very long odds, indeed. These days, every movement of my body is calculated to try and avoid Outpatients.

Like everyone else my age, I have scar tissue from a long life. Anyone who doesn’t have battle scars would certainly be an anomaly. Many people have had more than their share of hardships including poor health, the tragic loss of a loved one, abusive relationships, or uneven employment over their lifetimes. Nobody escapes pain and suffering.

You will be happy to know that I’m not about to ruin your Wednesday by going down the rabbit hole of doom and gloom.

Back to my ineptness.

Thanks to the tips from a few shopping pros, I have at least solved one conundrum. I now have the expertise to open the plastic bags that one finds on those rolls in the produce aisle of the grocery store. After issuing a plea for help last week, I received some advice from friends who suggested that a) I wet my fingers in the section where they spray the vegetables with water; b) remove mask and apply hand sanitizer; c) Put the bags between your hands and rub your hands together. Armed with these pearls of wisdom, I went to Sobey’s last week to pick up a few veggies for a meal that I was about to cook. Yes, after a six-month hiatus, I actually decided to cook a meal.

I entered the grocery store and when the sliding doors opened, directly in front of me was a stand with beautiful looking asparagus, one of the vegetables that I was planning on procuring. There was hand sanitizer only a few feet away, so I put some on my hands. I couldn’t get the plastic bag to open but undeterred, I went to plan B, holding the bag between my two hands and rubbing them together. The bag would not open. I paused to consider my dilemma. My 70-year-old brain did some processing and realized that I was trying to open the wrong end of the bag. You’re right. I’m a hopeless case.

The Olympics are over. Here are a few of my activities that present challenges every bit as great as those faced by an Olympic athlete.

Getting out of bed. There was a time that I would literally leap out of bed. I’m a morning person and once I’m conscious, I don’t tarry in my bed. “Those were the days my friend, we thought they’d never end.” Mary Hopkin. The 2022 version of this activity is markedly different. Once I have ascertained that I’m alive (the sore back is a dead giveaway) and have survived another night, I ponder the steps that I will need to take to get upright. I roll over in the direction of the floor and like waves building as they approach the shore, I rotate my body from side to side to build up enough momentum to swing my legs over the side. I push off with my arms and just like that, 2 minutes later, I am up and ready to face a new day. I look like a contortionist going through these machinations. Bending over to put on my slippers is a stretch but it is done very gently.

I always make a list when I go to the grocery store for very obvious reasons. I used to place the list near my car keys to make sure that I didn’t leave the list at home. I don’t own a car anymore but thankfully, old habits die hard, and I routinely put the list where the keys would normally reside. It doesn’t take much to distract me and unless I’m 100% focused. The flight of a butterfly outside my window can cause me to forget the list. And you all know how impossible it is to recreate that list once you’re in the grocery store.

To get to the grocery store, one needs footwear. My walking boots have laces. Laces need to be tied. From a standing position, it is not possible for me to simply bend down and tie them. I either use a stool or go outside my apartment and prop my leg up on the stairway to gain important leverage.

I can see that you’re already a few steps ahead of me because you know what is coming next. You arrive at the grocery store and realize for the umpteenth time, that you have left your cloth bags back home. You probably own 30 of them and now, because of your absent mindedness, you will be the proud owner of 33.

Now that I am fully retired (?), I have begun to read books every day. It is a great way to pass a few hours and to escape all the misery in the world. When I’m on a roll, I can read for long stretches of time without skipping a beat. It only takes the pinging of my phone to distract me. Even if the message is not important, it might be enough to distract me. This may result in reading the same page over three times as I try and digest the phone message while trying to read at the same time. Men are notoriously poor multitaskers.

The last two Olympian tasks are a sure sign that the aging process is moving along as it should. I am blessed to have many friends and growing up in a small town, you know a lot of people. Some of them, you’ve known your entire life. Now in fairness to myself (rationalization at its best), I have been away for a few years but why should I have trouble coming up with a person’s name when I meet them on the sidewalk? Why is it that I can remember the lyrics to hundreds and hundreds of songs, and can pull them out of a hat at will but can’t remember quickly the name of a person? I guess this must be a different part of the brain.

Watching my mom grow old was instructive. I can still see her going to the basement where the freezer was located, along with shelves of canned goods. The stairs to the cellar were steep and I often recall her in her “golden years” coming back up those stairs fuming. “Goddammit, I can’t remember what I went to get in the basement.” These days, I live in a very small apartment and mercifully everything is on one level. But these incidences are starting to rear their ugly heads. I travel from my living room to the kitchen, a distance of 15 feet, and every now and them, I find myself standing in the kitchen wondering what I came to get. Now, don’t fret, loyal readers. I don’t think I’m losing it yet but there are days that I feel like I am on the slippery slope. My only consolation is that many of my friends (when I can remember their names!) are experiencing many of the same things.

I have never been a paranoid person. Until very recently, I never locked my apartment door. I have never worried about intruders as no self-respecting thief would waste his time pillaging my apartment. I do it now for insurance purposes. Early every evening, when I know I won’t be going out again, I double lock my door. Why then, after watching two hours of Netflix, would I go and check the locks? God, maybe I have developed latent OCD.

The Golden Years. The only thing golden is the color of our pee!

Have a great weekend.

P.S. A tip of the hat to the Irish

An Irish Blessing.

May the road rise up to meet you,

May the wind always be at your back,

May the sun shine warm upon your face and rains fall soft upon your fields,

And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”

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