I went to the movies the other night and was all excited because I got the seniors’ discount and only had to pay half-price for admission. (There is no surer sign of getting old than being thrilled rather than offended when a clerk offers you the seniors’ discount.) The seniors’ discount is actually a fair trade practice. The really old and decrepit farts dose off halfway through the show anyway and have to pay to see it a second time to find out how it ended. I’m thinking maybe tomorrow night I’ll go back and find out who the murderer is.
My fading memory is what I hate the most about getting old. It’s not the fact that I have to go downstairs three times before I remember what I needed to get out of the storeroom. It’s that it takes me the first two times just to remember it had anything to do with the storeroom. Usually I’ll stand in one place like a lost wildebeest that has been separated from the herd, glancing around and wondering why I’m down there. I’ll check the washing machine to see if there is anything in it my wife wants me to put in the clothes dryer. Then I’ll check the clothes dryer to see if I was supposed to take clothes out and fold them. I’ll check the furnace and the water heater then go back upstairs before I remember I was supposed to get something out of the storeroom. I’ll go back downstairs, and of course there still aren’t any clothes in the washer or dryer. It’s an endless cycle.
Just to prove how old I am, we recently bought one of those robot vacuums that cleans the floors and spreads dog poop all over the carpet while we’re gone. (See YouTube videos.) I named it Hazel–which really dates me. most people don’t know who Hazel was. It is one of those modern conveniences I would have laughed at wasting the money on just ten years ago when I was young enough to vacuum without feeling worn out the next day. Out dog hates it. She is positive it is the evil love child of her arch enemies the vacuum cleaner and the lawn mower. And it has to be possessed as it doesn’t even need a human attached to it to chase her around the house.
Since I’m getting older, I find myself talking to myself more now than I used to—probably because I keep forgetting there’s nobody around. I’ve always talked to myself. For years my wife would walk into a room and ask, “Who are you talking to?” I used to tell her I was going over dialogue for a book, and I had to say it out loud to get the rhythm and speech pattern right, but usually I was just talking to myself. Sometimes you need to tell the World something even if there is nobody there to hear it.
I sometimes think my wife talks to herself, but she doesn’t. I’ll be down in the family room, and I’ll hear her talking upstairs in the kitchen very animated for long periods of time, and not just mumbling but speaking loudly. About the time I’m getting ready to dig out my cell phone to see if I can get her some help. She’ll come down the stairs.
My wife: So what do you think?
Me: About what?
My wife (giving a disgusted snort.): I just spent a half-hour explaining where we should go for vacation this year, and you weren’t even listening. It’s just like you to block me out when you’re watching TV.
I think I have a crazy person living in my house. I’m just not sure which one of us it is. Now excuse me, I have to run downstairs and get something. I think it has something to do with the washing machine.
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