Oh Joy! Some odd combination of words appear on my blog search terms. “Fussy, ingrate elderly” can be plugged into Google and one is directed to my blog. This is downright weird, because I don’t like to think of myself as either fussy or ungrateful. Elderly yes, that designation is impossible to not accept. The evidence does not allow this. The hair is shot through with white, the skin shows elephantine creasing and sagging, the voice emits wash-board harmonies, the cervical vertebrae squeak and scrape with bad horror-show door sound effects and the diminishing eyesight helps me view the world, as if through a badly fogged wind-shield.
But fussy? Nah! Or, Maybe? Systematic in behaviour, perhaps. We old people tend to be more careful in how we manoeuvre through the world. Step off a curb carefully – check. Always leave glasses within arm’s reach – check. Make sure dentures are in before going out – check. Look repeatedly in all directions before daring to cross a street – check. Read labels over carefully in the grocery store – check. In restaurants, read over menu with an eye out for food easy to chew, not cause excessive flatulence or constipation – check. This cautiousness only demonstrates we are not in a terrific hurry, unlike younger folk. There is a lot of tooth-gnashing and eye-rolling exasperation from witnesses who have not yet reached our advanced state of decrepitude. Think about this; what is there to be gained in rushing about? Oh, yes – a hum-dinger memorial service, and then, the Grave.
On the other hand, this extreme caution may have some elements of fussy about it. I mean, just because aged, one does not simply have diminished likes and dislikes, nor are these necessarily magnified. The only time we will cease to be not particular is when we no longer draw conscious breath. This condition is not age-related, but rather universal with everyone equally afflicted. Why lob pot-shots at only the elderly. We have not invented gluten intolerance, dislike of beans and broccoli, irritating loud sounds and long line-ups.
And what is this business about having to be grateful, constantly. Old people are just so thrilled to open their eyes one more morning, see the daylight, hear ambient sounds, be able to move about unassisted, have occasion to laugh, complain, assent, celebrate, regret, admire, touch and be touched. Permit us to be grateful and to be ingrates when occasions require, to be moody and be demanding if need be. After all the weather is, just is, in all its variability, as is being human.