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This may be YOU, someday

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2012-10-04


I know how old people get on your nerves: they do everything way too slowly, and they are not exactly fast learners when it comes to technology. They seem to be a bit bewildered at all the choices we have these days, especially when it comes to coffee and paint. They are baffled as to why no one will hire their grandchildren, and don’t seem to understand that to apply for a job, it helps to have a computer. More than likely, they will suggest to young job seekers that they should just ask for a paper application when looking for a job, and be sure to talk to the person that hires people right after they are done filling out the application. To someone who has been retired for twenty years, explaining the job application process is both hilarious and horrifying. Computer skills? Just to apply for a job? You’d better believe it.

I sometimes roll my eyes when my next door neighbor mows her lawn twice in one week, or wheels the garbage can up from the curb mere minutes after the trash has been picked up. She’s retired, and I guess those are the highlights of her week.

But I try to be patient, and grit my teeth. I also bite my tongue when people I know bitch and moan about old people in their lives. It hurts me. Because someday, if we live long enough, we will be old too.

Yes, you. No matter what age you are reading this right now, you will not stay this age forever. Once upon a time, I was a fifteen year old girl, thinking my twenty-five year old brother was “old.” Now, it’s thirty years later, and if I think about that too much, I get a panic attack.

I look at old people holding hands, and I start to tear up. I see anniversary notices of couples who have been married fifty years or so, and realize I may not know anyone who will come close to meeting that record.

I see pictures of 1970s era appliances and toys posted on Facebook, and the command to “like” this if you remember this. A Facebook friend is irritated by this, suggesting that the posters of these photos maybe wouldn’t be so old and bitter if they got rid of some of that stuff and bought newer stuff. I made the observation that this “old” stuff, made in the USA, will last longer than any of the newer gadgets made in China. Soon, we will have a generation of people who won’t know what it’s like to own something built to last, something “old” and hopelessly analog, but solid in a way an MP3 player will never be.
We were once annoying, crying little kids. We were sullen teenagers. We were twentysomethings trying to start adulthood (with questionable results). We were thirtysomethings. Fortysomethings. And eventually, with luck, exercise and decent nutrition, we will eventually be in our fifties, sixties, and seventies. And we will be old. And no doubt, we will be annoying to those fortysomethings, and younger folks because we can’t figure out the music chips (playing the hits of the 80s and 90s) implanted in our ears.

You’d think we’d learn. You’d think that once we make it to old age, we could pass on the knowledge to the younger generation that no, we weren’t always retirement age, and to cut a little slack. But no. We didn’t listen, and neither will the younger generation. Old age is for other people — parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, grown ups.

And that’s why I always wince a little whenever I hear a nasty remark about old people made by someone much younger. Unless you make an early exit, you too will be grumbled about someday—you drive too slow, you can’t figure out the DVD player, you can’t see the buttons on the remote or the phone, you’re holding up the line, we’ll have to move you into a nursing home, because you can’t take care of yourself anymore, and we don’t want you living with us.

Think about that the next time you’re pissed at an old person, and take a look in the mirror. With any luck, that will be YOU. Someday.

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