Catherine and I had a lovely chat this afternoon. She took an iPad course and loved it. “It’s so easy!”, she said!” She means the Apple OS. “Of course”, I said, and so did everyone else she knows. She was using a PC before. Perhaps she didn’t believe us.
I called her to tell her about the incredible insight I got from her the last time we met. She had told me about her cataracts and how she was noticing it was hard to go down stairs because she couldn’t see where each step begins and ends. I thought nothing of it at first and later, suddenly, I thought, LILY! That’s exactly why she is so hesitant going down our many stairs. I knew it was those cataracts she has, but I didn’t know precisely what her experience was.
Catherine was quite pleased to have had such an important role in my enlightenment. And since she has now had one of her cataracts removed, she asked whether Lily was going to have hers done. I asked the vet the same question and he replied, flippantly, “No, of course not. She can’t read and she doesn’t drive!” (That’s just one thing that went wrong during that last visit.)
Lily is a healthy “octogenarian” in dog years, and she probably has a good four more years to her life span, barring some sudden onset of illness, which could happen to anyone of course. Together we can manage her sight problems; we understand each other. Sometimes I am her seeing-eye and I’m sure she would be mine if I needed her to be.
Catherine is very close to my age, a wee bit younger, and “Maybe” is a wee bit older. “Maybe” — I am calling her this because I haven’t asked her permission to mention her name but I do think maybe she wouldn’t mind — “Maybe” is so busy we don’t even try to get together. She reads my column and writes me back stories so in tune with what I have written, it is spooky. We grew up in very different places, our backgrounds are really very different, and we really didn’t know much about each other until this column started. When I wrote about multi-tasking, some people commented that they were exhausted reading about my life as a young housewife and mother. That’s a joke! You wouldn’t believe what “Maybe” is up to at Eighty and then some!
Catherine and I and “Maybe” – Lily, of course, is spared – are so tired of all the information we are bombarded with coming from every possible means of communication — radio, tv, newspaper, magazine, movies, internet — about remembering and forgetting and losing it, and end of life this and end of life that, and the poor boomers who have to deal with this as their parents “age” (in quotes because doesn’t everybody? ”Age”?) — so sick of it right at this moment we cannot even make jokes about it. And by the way, there are plenty of those “forwarded forwarded forwarded” on the internet.
So let me just say that if my column is called “Eighty and then some”, it is not about “aging”, nor about that other stuff. It’s about sharing life, living, breathing, and noticing how we all do it differently and yet find how much alike we are — Catherine and “Maybe” and Lily and I and all our readers — regardless of how many legs we have or how many years we have lived or have yet to go!
©Elaine Zimbel 2013
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