Thursday 19 July 2012


The morning has been spent yelling down the telephone. Now, Liz, herself, has been suffering from a degree of 'could-you-speak-up-please' and secretly plotting to ask the Doctor for a referral to a hearing facility. What I hadn't registered, below the intellectual level that is, where one can have information without knowledge,  was that many  people of my acquaintance were in the same boat. It is discomforting to bellow one's name at top volume to someone one has known since childhood. Indeed, I sequester it in the drawer marked "Growing Evidence of Encroaching Madness".As to that, you must have noticed. There are certain people and certain situations that make you wonder whether you are still in your your right mind. This phenomenon is triggered much more readily with age, I find. One has a very clear memory of an event, a significant, even life-changing event, and The Other, involved in every scintilla at the time, looks at one as if Swahili were the currency of the story when it is recounted years later. I digress: in this technocological age there must be a telephonic device that can be installed at one end or the other - or both - to enhance the volume.  Please, do let me know. As you will have gathered, the Guru, who knows everything that falls under the heading of 'Twenty First Century Living' now lives a life so busy even I feel pressured, myself, if I have to ask his help in navigating the simple electronic everyday. It is actually good for me, in a way, because it forces me to drag myself up the learning curve without him. Which is about the only exercise I'm capable of these days.  All the fuss in the papers about exercise saving our lives: what if the degree of one's mobility makes that a nonsense? A few days ago, a young man shot out of a shop and barged straight in to me. I thought I was being mugged. In fact, that was not his intention, but he sent me flying. Happily, I fell against a wall and not to the ground, so escaped with nothing but shock and hurt pride. Hurt pride, why? Well,  I got the full poor-old-lady-treatment from passers-by. While the help was welcome, it was also galling not to have been able to chase after him and whack him about the head with my umbrella and some unladylike language.

I do sometimes wonder what we oldies could be capable of if push came to shove. Would I have been able to catch him up and do him injury had I, or a loved one, been in real danger? These are eventualities you don't think of until you get there. There is an aura, an ambience around age which is clearly perceived by the not-old. We are a different kettle of fish: a different species. Sometimes, travelling by air, I ask for a wheelchair because the distances are challenging at most airports. I am dealt with as if the chair were empty. My passport and boarding card are taken from me although I could easily reach up to the relevant desks. The attendant is asked "can she stand? The up-side is that many of the potential embarrassments are actually quite funny.  If the people walking through me, barging passed me, letting their eyes roll  off me could hear what my inner voice was saying their wide-eyed disbelief would cause them to call the police or even Social Services. Having survived the danger of being driven mad by those who dont understand Swahili, I could find myself under secure guard, after all, for age-inappropriate language and behaviour. While I do have sufficient faculty, however, I shall resign myself to the loss of  umbrella weilding and learning curve trekking, carry on editing my vocabulary  and concentrate on excercise of the mind instead.

That's enough green ink. (Those of you kind keepers-up will know what I mean by that)  My excuse is that you did sign up for an insight in to life on the outside versus life on the inside of those of us beyond the biblical limit of three score and ten.  The trouble is, at a distance of a few hundred words, can I remember whyever I reached for that ink-pot  in the first place?

ps A.V. Are you still there?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Liz,
Although not yet three score years and ten I also sometimes have trouble hearing, or rather understanding, what my conversation partner has said. This is particularly acute at the moment because I am visiting "over the pond". Sometimes it is due to the mumbling, sometimes it is the American accent, and sometimes it is because even when I have heard and slotted the sounds into the right pigeon holes, they still don't mean anything, due to the dislocation. Ah, well, a friendly smile usually puts things to rights.
Thank you once again for sharing your daily tribulations and how you cope with us - as N said about Snow, this, too is another inspired, amusing and thought-provoking blog. Keep it up!