I have become aware of a unique “reactionary” behavior that people have started exhibiting toward me. It is the kind of behavior that indicates I have become either very wealthy…or elderly. It is not difficult to guess which.
In fact, with the proverbial joke line in mind—the one that says, “You know you’re old when…” well, this behavior I’m seeing could provide endless new material.
This new form of treatment has been extended to me mostly by total strangers. This makes it all the more obvious that it is definitely happening and is, indeed, taking on a trend. It means, I assume, my elderly status has gone public even though I’ve tried to keep it to myself. I am, after all, sans walker and cane (despite the picture).
So what’s happening? Some examples:
- Clerks in stores are noticeably more prone to assist me before others.
- People are offering to carry whatever it is I happen to be carrying.
- A service counter employee at Home Depot insisted in coming out from behind the counter and going outside to get my wife and me a shopping cart when she noticed our looking for one.
- People are beginning to get up and offering their seat when none are left.
- The phrase, “can I help you with that” is ringing in my ear.
- More doors are being held open for me.
- All those pill commercials on the news at night have become…relatable!
- Any day now, I am expecting a boy scout to assist in crossing the street.
Now, I suppose I could take all this either way. I could give in to it and let people wait on me hand and foot or otherwise relieve me of some of my burdens, especially the physical ones. Or, I could fight it off for a while more, insisting I’m not THAT old…yet.
I know my physical appearance is getting a bit pathetic. I have a three-year-old arthritis issue in my lower spine that has supplemented a three-year old back ache which rarely takes a day off. All this evilness has caused my body to take on at tilt to starboard. I do no think shims are going to help me straighten out. So I have to assume my appearance is taking on that of a bent-over old man. As such, others are prone to want to help me do everyday tasks that are more easily accommodated by straight-bodied people. Don’t get me wrong, I can do them…it just hurts a little to do so and it usually takes me longer.
But what is really unnerving is that I came to realize our car has turned into a an old person’s vehicle. I discovered that this week when I took it in for service. I was told the last time I had it in for service was January–10 months ago! And as if that’s unheard of for all the miles we used to put on the car, I was further told it had been driven only 5000 miles since then. This is because Rosemarie retired last year and now both of us are out of the daily routine of commuting back and forth to work. Nowadays the car stays in the garage and is pulled out for short trips only, like to the supermarket or for a doctor visit. I suppose it will become one of those cars the neighbors keep eyeing in hopes we’ll give it up and they can buy for a rip-off price and give it to their kid who’s going off to college.
So goes the process…the process of aging. It’s not a pretty process and one that will no doubt become more challenging as time goes by. But then, I expect more and more folks will be offering to help out in some way. I wonder if I could persuade one of them to wax the car?