I have several friends who send me things – accounts of personal experiences, or (as in this case, tales told to them by others) — thinking maybe they will be useful fodder for my writing. And sometimes, they are. Example: the following, which my sending friend has titled “A Story for Seniors”:
“After a meeting several days ago, I couldn’t find my keys. I quickly gave myself a personal ‘TSA Pat Down.’ They weren’t in my pockets. Suddenly, I realized I must have left them in the car. So I headed frantically for the parking lot. My husband has scolded me so many times for leaving my keys in the car’s ignition…he’s afraid that the car could be stolen. And as I looked around the lot, I realized that this time, he was right. It was empty.
“I immediately called the police, gave them my location, confessed that I had left my keys in the car and that it had been stolen as a result. And then I made an even more difficult call: to my husband: ‘I left my keys in the car,’ I said, ‘and it’s been stolen.’
“There came a moment of silence, during which I thought the call might have been disconnected, But then I heard his voice, barking: ‘Are you kidding me? Did you forget that I dropped you off today?’
“Now it was my turn to be silent. I was very embarrassed, but I finally managed to say, ‘Well, will you please come and get me?’ Another long pause before he answered: “’Yes, I will…as soon as I can convince this cop here that I didn’t steal your car!’”
This came to me from an old, old (in both senses of the word) friend in Chicago. She concludes her account with a disclaimer that this isn’t her own experience, plus this simple statement: “Welcome to the Golden Years.” She also manages a bit of a laugh at her own expense by quoting Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself: Everyone else is already taken.”
This friend has always been herself, never hesitating to share stories that point out her own failings, and keeping a sense of humor even about her current status: an elderly widow residing in a small independent living facility that doesn’t offer much in the way of socialization and mind-expanding activity. But she reads – uses her computer to keep in touch – and, now into her early ‘90s, still drives her own car – but not very far, and never on expressways!
I plan to ask her to comment on the fact that our U.S. government officially decided it doesn’t want us to be called “seniors” any more; the correct term of choice is now supposed to be “older adults.” I learned this from a gerontologist who works daily with seniors — oops! older adultsI I wonder what my humorous friend will think of that. By the way: What do YOU think of that?