Lonesome Road

November 19th, 2015 by Evelyn

I  took time off from my blog to write a book, which is a good way to kill time when you’re 85. I tried a zumba class but all the 50 year olds had better bodies than mine, which is not too surprising, given my 35year advantage. Well I thought it an advantage but they didn’t. Isn’t more better than less?

Anyway, when I was still alive, before I had been struck down by the great plague – no, dummy, not ebola – old age. Before my neck looked like the iron had run out of steam and when I slathered on tons of anti wrinkle cream because I had more disposable income. And I can’t remember how I spent it, but spend it I did because it sure ain’t here now that the wrinkles are. And yes, more is better than less-disposable income – not wrinkles.

So I wrote this book,”Living Beyond Your Sell By Date and growing older disgracefully” and Amazon published it and lots of older people like it as well as their kids. They say it makes them laugh but I’m not laughing even though I give then a significant discount if they order from my website,www.grrouch.com, which you already know if you’re reading my blog. I’m not laughing because there has been no great impact on my disposable income.  I’m still a victim of the plague, as will you be, but I won’t be around, only you can send something to the dead letter office and you won’t hear from me unless I can find some of those forever stamps.

The Food Chain

November 17th, 2015 by Evelyn

I had a conversation with a friend about my dog and his recent haircut. Unlike Samson of Biblical fame, his locks were not shorn to diminish his physical prowess, but to eliminate his matted hair.. Actually, it’s kind of ludicrous to associate Parker, my five pound Yorkie with feats of strength, but interestingly, after his haircut, he became more skittish than ever, which led us to believe that his very full coat was his suit of armor.

I mentioned how Parker used to sleep with one eye open and now, it seems at times that neither eye ever really closes. My friend smiled and said, “If you were a part of the food chain how well do you think you would sleep?”

I had never really given it much thought but I began to realize that every single creature on earth, with the exception of human beings, becomes a part of the food chain.

What exactly is a food chain? Animals and fish eat. One way or another they must find food to survive. Whether it’s on land or in the sea, many animals, called herbivores, fill up on plants. Since many animals eat meat, we call them carnivores. They need to find prey and they have to avoid becoming prey themselves. Link those predators and prey together and you get a food chain. The important fact to remember is that you are only part of a food chain if you can be considered prey. Each chain is a series of animals that eat one another. Rabbits, for instance, might get eaten by a fox. Then the fox may become a snack for a tiger and the tiger could end up in the belly of a lion.

It’s obvious that life in a food chain is stressful and its members must constantly remain vigilant. No wonder my dog never really enters a deep sleep. Not that we have any plans to eat him, but domesticated animals retain vestiges of their heritage which keep them on guard.

After considerable thought, I have come to believe that we humans are part of a food chain of a very different sort. Food chain in its literal sense is a misnomer but the expression, dog eat dog applies to many of the behaviors of human beings.

Animals stalk their prey because of a physiological hunger. Their bellies are empty and they need to fill them. Human beings are motivated by a need for power and those who govern us are an example of that need, and how it is sated. However, they didn’t invent the concept of dog eat dog which seems to come with the territory of those who rule.

In 1948, George Kennan, former head of the US State Department Policy Planning Staff, said that our country has about 60 percent of the world’s wealth but only 6.3 percent of its population and so we are the object of envy and resentment. He believed that we had to form relationships with other nations that allowed us to maintain this uneven ratio. He further advised that we forego such luxuries as altruism and world benefaction and stop promoting such vague objectives as human rights, the raising of standards of living and democratization. His exact words were, “The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.”

I think that day has come. I think if we were to ask those persons who are in power in our country, “Why do you destroy the environment, why do you ignore the impoverished and health impaired, why do you assume an imperialistic stance and fight with other nations, I think their answer would be, quite simply, “Because we can.”

For most of us, sleep when it comes, can be deep and unguarded. Let us hope that never changes and we can reject a philosophy of dog eat dog.

Old Age Is Not A Disease

November 6th, 2015 by Evelyn

No ,no ,no. Old age is not a disease. It is not contagious. It is not viral or bacterial. You could sit next to some old biddy like me on the bus or plane, and you wouldn’t expose yourself to infection, even if I sneezed. Before we reach the plateau which is called old age, we are usually referred to as middle aged. Sometimes, I think there’s an enormous difference between the two stages and sometimes not so much. There is a continuum between stages, and how we approach it, how we deal with it, or even how it deals with us, makes a difference, as well.

For starters, let’s dispense with the euphemisms. No, old age is not synonymous with the golden years, but weren’t adolescence and the late teen ages, a kind of pain in the butt? We forget about school and having to study, and having to obey a bunch of rules that we didn’t make, and generally didn’t agree with or accept, without a certain reluctance. I can’t wait till I grow up. Sound familiar? Well you have, and up and up and up and up, so let’s quit our complaining- aren’t we ever satisfied?

I am no longer young, In fact, I’m generally characterized as old, at least according to the varied doctors I have seen, and who have told me that the reason so much of my equipment is in disrepair is because I am old, ageing, or mature, depending on whether or not they went to charm school or took a course in patient relations. When I moved to Florida, no longer able to afford to live in New York City, the city of my birth, and the place where I had lived most of my life, I was lonely. At first, I lived in a rental complex for families and people of all ages. I was still lonely. Seemed like everyone went to work or to school and much as I loved my then dog, Daisy, she wasn’t a great conversationalist. After weeks of the soul deep loneliness where even a phone call from the Tampa Bay Times, trying to sell you a subscription, is welcome, I knew I had to make a change to my life.

One of the first things I learned when I moved to my new dwelling – average age 85-95- is that people expect to live forever and do not want to deal with the possibility of life coming to an end. When they admired my dog, and I expressed my desire for a simultaneous earthly departure, I was accused of being morbid and the subject was rapidly dismissed. I would discover that death was the F word and no self respecting human being ever let it pass beyond clenched lips.

Interestingly, although I learned to keep my lips closed, most conversations focused on myriad illnesses and or diseases, plus surgery, including all of its lurid descriptions, with fractures and falls also ranking at the top. There was no expiration date on any event – 10 years ago,20 years ago, or the future – all was grist for the conversational mill. Occasionally, a mass shooting somewhere in the world or a flood back home – ([ots of transplanted residents ) preempted the medical analyses, but business then resumed as usual.

When I was a kid, crossing the frontier in a covered wagon . Oh,Grandma no one is that old. Are they? Maybe not. Maybe it just feels that way. To give you a little perspective, I lived for a long time without apps – at least Steven Jobs apps – An apple for the teacher – had nothing to do with being wireless, more to do with the weird kids who tried to curry favor by gifting the teacher with a piece of fruit. So what has all this got to do with anything? Not much, but I wanted to establish a time line, before I returned to the residents’ conversations, and explain of what they remind me. When I was a kid we used to play a game called telephone. You sat next to someone and they sat next to someone and so on down the line and you whispered a phrase into someone’s ear and they repeated it and at the end, it came out completely garbled and with no relationship to the original phrase.

That’s what happens here but it’s not called telephone. It’s called gossip by some and more often than not it’s shouted into someone’s hearing aid and so on down the line, so you see, it could also get garbled and a failing kidney could be a trip to rehab by Sidney. Unscrambling is part of the process and adds to our own social network. Since there are several hundred people living here, it’s impossible to know everyone, although there are several residents who have achieved what may seem an impossibility, but for most, recognition by sight or hand wave is the norm. Being of a more solitary bent than some, I put myself in the latter group. As with any congregation, there is a tendency to form discrete friendships, but the real chosen are blood relatives only and those who are not so categorized, wear the name family, by default.

Some people never apply the word older to themselves, at least not publicly. They say that they’re maturing or past their middle years, but old is admitting defeat and refers to someone else. We have succumbed to the world’s assessment of old age because according to the rest of the world, old is synonymous with useless, inadequate, somewhat scatterbrained and the like. Old is not a disease, it’s not contagious ,it’s universal, and depending on how it’s handled, isn’t necessarily a horror show. Of course, we’re the players and we have to get the word out – both good and bad. It’s in our hands and it’s out of our hands. Too enigmatic? Well, lets’ explain.

From the moment we leave the nest we have goals or focus. Initially, our goals are innate. As part of normal growth, we expand our mental capacities to keep pace with our physical development. After that has taken place, we begin to consider what we want to do with our lives. All of this takes place over a considerable amount of time,  times varying contingent on the myriad variances among individuals and circumstances. Remember, goals can range from wanting to be a millionaire to hoping never to have to enter the work force. Or our focus can be on not having any real focus, just drifting along with the tide. Even if we protest, as did Peter Pan in song, that we won’t grow up, we will grow up – barring incident or accident, leading to an early demise – and grow and grow and grow- and here we are in old man’s/woman’s land without ever making a plan or setting a goal to be here. Doesn’t seem fair, somehow. Seems like it was just yesterday when we did what we wanted when we wanted to with an ease that now eludes us.

So let’s go back to the congregation or community in which we live. I, like many others, have lived in congregate housing where the only thing that any of the renters had in common, was the landlord. We were a varied group, so much so that we often lived in our own little cell for many years, without ever getting to know our neighbors.. What we had in common was that we were all human beings and, dependent on the pleasure of the landlord, there were some members of the animal species as well.
Probably, the only things that the above dwellings had in common with the senior complex in which I live and which is replicated through out the country, are the structures, the actual stucco, bricks and mortar which house the residents in their complete disconnectedness to one another.

Disconnectedness. That is a word one would never apply to a senior complex. Plugged in would be more apt and heaven help those who are oblivious of the balancing act. Balance, what so many of us want restored to our life to maintain the status quo, to the way things were, Suddenly, it seemed, I was in the bottom of my world and I knew that somehow, I had to climb my way up. How to do it?

For me, what has always worked is an understanding of my situation. Where am I? What do I want? Where do I want to go and what is the importance of anything or everything, anyway? In what I refer to as my real life, the life I led when I was basically in control, there is one incident which stands out, particularly in light of its importance in the community in which I now live.

I was employed in the health care field and would frequently visit senior centers where I would observe the participants engaged in various activities, most generally in what I refer to as “crafts”. Some seemed to require a degree of skill but other s seemed involved in cutting out Thanksgiving turkeys and after a bit of reflection, I wrote an article expressing my fear at some day cutting out turkeys as a form of recreation. That became a kind of mantra for me and as I aged, I kept the phrase, “I don’t want to cut out turkeys” in the back of my mind.

What I now realize is that my fear of cutting out turkeys is not universal. The turkey in our lives is representative of some other activity or interest that was a part of our lives, in which we have either lost interest or can no longer perform, and which has become the filler in an otherwise empty space. This sounds like an optional choice, but it may be far from being so categorized. When we move away from the natural progressions of life – marriage, children, family, employment – we need to find fillers because we are living longer and stronger, and most of us, for most of or lives, have had it drummed into our heads by ourselves or others, that idleness is akin to a waste of our lives. Facetiously we say, ”shop till you drop” but we do most things to excess and work is certainly one of them, especially paid employment.

To many of us, the friendly to animals policy that is touted as part of the culture of the Dodo Birds,  was the siren song that brought us to the portals of the complex, with our canines and kitty cats, where we expected to be welcomed with open paws. Sadly, only some are friendly to animals and many others consider humans as members of the ruling class, with no responsibility for the creatures that are part of the grand plan. In fact, to these same others, animals are part of an inferior species and should be kept in their place which is – unfortunately – not this place in which I live.

Which is further unfortunate because they make wonderful scapegoats, Residents spill their coffee, being transported in the elevator to their apartments, and the little four legged critters are blamed. We know better. Volume alone tells us they’re blameless, but prudence tells us that as part of the minority, we are in a no – win situation and our canine companions are too wise to go barking up the wrong tree. So we get some new rules. In this pet friendly complex, the feet of our pets must never touch the carpet and so we have two options. A carriage – which most of us select – or a oija board- my secret choice, so that I may contact Fred Astaire to learn his secret of walking on the ceiling.

To further welcome our four legged friends, they are given a choice space to do their business, a narrow walk out the back door, where some of our more adventuresome drivers temporarily park their cars, after an exciting game of chicken with dogs and owners. Not for sissies, but old age is not for sissies, either. Not for sissies or for those who don’t deal well with uncertainty and uncertainty is a part of life, for sure, but, as insurance gurus know, uncertainty grows along with ageing.  So let us grow older disgracefully. Why not?

Abandon All Hope

August 3rd, 2015 by Evelyn

When men of science abandon their role of medical adviser and become pseudo scientists, predicting future events or  outcomes in a patient’s life, I believe they have overstepped their bounds.

Doctor, based on whatever  knowledge you have available, tell me what ails me and how you believe you can handle it. If you believe it’s beyond your scope of knowledge, tell – in fact if you believe it’s beyond anyone’s scope of knowledge, also tell me, but do not offer a definitive outcome, based on what you believe, unless you have a direct line to the Almighty and he has supplied the words. But even then, I require some proof of that direct line.

See, you wouldn’t be the first who has communicated with a higher power, or at least one who has so claimed,and I ‘m from New York, but we too have to be shown. My point is this: Fictional endings have the power to surprise us or offend us or whatever, dependent on the will of the author, but real life endings or outcomes are unpredictable,  despite medical interventions, non medical machinations or what ever you choose to call unexpected outcomes.

Unexpected by who or whom, to be more correct? Let’s go back to the doctor who has already decided that your problem is without solution and since he has no solution, it is out of his hands and now it’s in your hands and what you do is pretty much up to you. Here’s where the tricky part begins and it’s no longer just a medical question; it’s a question of how you deal with life in general.

If someone tells you that there is no solution to a problem, do you use some expletive (choose your own-we all have favorites mine is b——t!} , think about Newton’s apple and set about  finding either your own or someone else’s solution. Probably not your own, because you’re not a medical expert, but there’s always Google and off you go!

Those of us who are growing older disgracefully remember when our doctor was the family doctor, who was responsible for our complete body, and who sent us to a Specialist when there was something beyond his  sphere of expertise. Not being sexist, but there were very few women doctors, then. The Specialist usually sent his findings to the family doctor, who usually told us we were eventually going to be all right. Even if he never actually said those words, we somehow knew we were in good hands and things would be fine or at lest okay.

What I’m trying to say is that we never abandoned hope. Probably never even thought about it, never felt hopeless or sad. When our time came, our lives would be over, as determined by a higher power. When I was almost 40, I had breast cancer, with widespread lymph node involvement. After my mastectomy, my doctor told me I was fine and I never found out until 40 years later when my doctor retired, and I was given my medical notes, that he had classified my prognosis as:guarded.

I’m one of those persons who believe that it’s not so much what you eat, as what’s eating you, so I’m glad he never told me. I’m glad I believed I was okay, and at 85 I’m too old to die young. When I was young, I lost two friends to breast cancer and I’m  still here, although I bitch like crazy about how it sucks to be old.

Go figure! I can’t, but I can still get up every day thinking something good might happen. Emily Dickinson said “Hope is the thing with feathers.” No feathers. Just a ball of fur named Parker, and he has brought me love.

Abandon all hope? Never,never,never.

My Beloved Daisy

May 28th, 2015 by Evelyn

For nearly 14 years my beloved Daisy and I were together. And now she is gone . No. I must amend that, her physical being is gone from my life, but she is so tangled up into my heart and my soul and every part of me that I see her everywhere and hear her tiny footsteps, and last night, a little snore as she lay in her familiar place on our bed.

I have known the pain of loss but this is a pain such as I have never felt before. How long before I will stop waiting for her to appear? Oh Daisy, my Daisy, my Daisy. You brought so much to my life and asked for so little in return. I had hoped we both would share the pain of growing old until we both ran out of time.

I am sad for you and for me, and for all the others who have never known the joy in their life from a creature who gives love for love, and from a seemingly boundless supply.

Were you happy? Was your short trip through this earth as good for you, as having you for this trip was for me? I worried that I might have to part from you, leaving you in the hands of another who might not realize what a treasure you were. I worried that the bond between us might make it difficult for you to bond to another were I to depart sooner than you. I never let myself think of how I would get along without you. Impossible! You were my life and now I have memories and visions and when I reach out, you slip away.

Daisy, forgive me if I gave less than you. You had lost your zest for life and I had to let you go, but I will always love you and perhaps the passage of time, the old faithful healer, will allow me to think of you as the most precious gift of my life. A gift that I was so blessed to receive.

When Will They Ever Learn?

February 13th, 2015 by Evelyn

I have no idea as to how long I’m going to stick around, and even less idea as to how it all will end, but one thing I do know, as long as it’s in my power, I’m going to go out with a smile for all my friends, because I will have no enemies. How is that possible? Easy. They may not like me, they may hate me, but I won’t play their dirty little game. I’m strictly friends forever because it makes life so much simpler.

As a step towards complicating my life, I bought a cute little goldfish and an elegant little tank, which Mr.Goldfish has managed to outgrew in the most obscene way possible, and if I could weigh him, I know that he would tip the scales at a most unacceptable weight (Little pun there). So now, I have the joy of watching him swim endlessly around the tank, but I also have the arduous task of frequent water changes, as well as cleaning the accessories for handling his waste – you get my drift? But I would miss him if he didn’t greet me every morning. He is my friend and there is only affection between us.

The other creature who complicates my life is my dog,Daisy. We’ve been together for nearly 14 years and if she didn’t make me get out of bed every morning at 7 A.M. I would be happy to sleep some more, but whenever that thought crosses my mind, I banish it immediately, ask for forgiveness and jump – well to be honest, jumping is not in my repertoire these days – but somehow I do rise and get ready to feed my little roommate. Only happiness, when we greet each other – I, with words, she, with moist kisses.

Not content with Daisy and Mr.Goldfish, I have a group of plants who expect me to slake their thirst and feed them when appropriate. More complications, but they reward me from time to time. They present me with buds which turn into flowers and how joyful is that! Another source of happiness and how lucky am I.

To be honest, sometimes the water gets a little funny in the tank and Mr.Goldfish stays at the bottom or at the top and I know that all is not right with his world. So it’s a not so quick water change, and a bit of rinsing out until Mr Goldfish is back to his regular activity in the tank. If I’ve given him some discomfort, I’m sorry and he’s his usual self in no time at all.He never seems to hold a grudge. How can I help but love him?

Sometimes Daisy whines and wants more treats than I think she should have, and sometimes I offer a few very firm words and she ambles off to our bed and takes a nap. When I call her name, she always comes running over, ready to lick and kiss, all is forgiven. I love her and I know she loves me. By the way, she never lets me out of her sight. She’s what I mean when I say friends forever.

Sometimes, I’m late with the water, and my green friends turn brown, but with a little coaxing, some TLC and just the right amount of water, I’m usually forgiven and a branch – not olive-tells me we’re friends again.

What is the point of this rant? What I’m trying to say is that animals and fish and nature are most forgiving and do not hold a grudge. They’re not petty and mean, and they seem to know that this is a one way trip. They have been given the gift of life, and they honor the word gift. As do I.

Life was not always peaches and cream, but I am hoarding whatever time is left, and if someone asks, I want to be able to say that my life is good. I want to be content, and so I forgive and forget, and if the people with whom I come in contact can’t do the same, well so be it. I’ve decided to grow older disgracefully and if I have to be the last man (or woman) standing, that’s okay,too.

Dream When You’re Feeling Blue (revisited)

November 27th, 2014 by Evelyn

Well your dreams belong to you, don’t they? You and someone else and not always by invitation. Sometimes by intrusion. Sometimes by inclusion. Sometimes you think you’re in a room full of strangers and then the person you’ve been waiting for comes in, and you’re suffused with joy. The room was empty and now it’s full. But wait, its’s full all right but there’s no joy. Where is the one we have been waiting for all our lives?

Please, let’s have no excuses. I don’t ever want to fight with you. I remember when you were just a baby and whatever you did was pure happiness. Well, most of the time, anyway. We who are growing older disgracefully, look back at our dreams and see only bliss. Do we dream selectively, seeing only that which we allow to remain, and sending everything else back to the recycling bin?

Wouldn’t it be nice to dream whenever you were in the mood, just by lying down and closing your eyes, and wouldn’t it be even nicer to stop your dreams when you so desired. For instance, by way of the alarm clock, or just by sheer will power, or by making the train or the bus the setting of your dreams, and then by reaching the stop where you get off?

See, since my dreams belong just to me there’s no “he said, she said”, just a return to never never land and the way that I wanted it to be. Or maybe it really was that way, and dreamland was just an affirmation.

Anyway, I have been having some seriously wacky dreams lately and I must assume that it’s all tied up with what has been going on in my life. The whole business of dreams and their meaning has always been sort of murky to me. However, I wish I could push the rewind button and go back to the time and or place of my dreams, where I think I could change my life, though I know it’s not possible.

I think I would say, “I love you, I love you, you’re perfect”, to everyone who crosses the threshold of my dreams. I know I can’t, so maybe I’ll just say more, “I love yous” or “you’re perfects”, to those who cross the threshold of my conscious. Maybe. Are you perfect? Maybe one of us is. Maybe none of us is. So dream.

Delayed Gratification

October 17th, 2014 by Evelyn

Delay? Not in my brain or vocabulary. If I wanted it, I would get it because I could. If something was advertised and it looked appealing, I would I would pick up the phone or my mouse and soon it was on its way. Oh of course, it had to be affordable, but that’s a very flexible word and open to much interpretation. One man or woman’s affordable, is someone else’s splurge and somehow, when the regularity of hefty paychecks had become a given, frugality took a back seat. But now it has become the driver and sits up front, where it belongs.

The funny thing is, it hasn’t much impacted my life. Does that speak to a change in my thought processes or just to the change in my disposable income? Had I been buying into the belief that things would improve my life and perhaps even make me more satisfied? For many people shopping, or acquiring, is a goal, an occupation, a form of entertainment. Is it all of those things because we can afford it to be, or would we make it affordable, no matter what, because it is so important to our lives?

And filling a desire At the moment of desire, is more fun than budgeting and planning which involves making sacrifices. Or does it? It’s a conundrum – that’s the kind of word that I use when I’m truly – this is actually a good place for the past tense of a 4 letter word, but in deference to those who grow older gracefully, I will abstain- Call it what you will, but it is puzzling and it is always difficult for us to define ourselves.

A lot of words, as the old Bard would have said, words signifying nothing and perhaps that is true, but as I grow older, I need to question my values, and in so doing, find a way to value my life. Postponing gratification has brought a feeling of achievement into my life. I can be happy with what I have and I need less.

I think I know where I am. One night, a group of residents where I live, discussed what plans they would make if they won the Lotto. Money for children, travel, college tuition – all commendable choices, but I had decided a while back – I would take the bulk of my money and set up a foundation to help old persons in need. I’m not homeless and I have enough to eat, but old age is tough, and unless you have a working crystal ball- well, you know about the best laid plans.

Delay? In my vocabulary, only not things, but days, hours, moments. I wake up and the day is mine and my Daisy is whining for her breakfast. What a wonderful sound! Oh, and the rent is paid. We’ll work out everything else.

The Pecking Order

September 16th, 2014 by Evelyn

I never gave much thought to the existence of a pecking order, until I became one of those folks who are growing older disgracefully. I recognize how pervasive the pecking order is, in particular, where the generations coexist and seniors are in the minority, and now, it has become a part of my consciousness.

For example,I registered on Facebook – as I register at many other sites – just because they’re free and I can. Unlike my grandchildren and myriad friends, I never change my profile picture. Why would I? I was three years younger and I’m just about the only one who looks at it, anyway. Most of my peers are not computer aficionados, their notebooks are frames for their photographs, and their cell phones are mainly for texting. Besides, my friends at my senior complex are happy to tell me how they feel, if I ask them. more graphically and in greater detail than they ever could on Facebook.

My visits to Facebook are occasioned by an email informing me that I have a notification, frequently pertaining to people I have never met. As for the ones I have met, I’m not always sure that they have met me. Or at the least, remember me. I use that invitation to visit Facebook as an opportunity to become, at least pictorially, reacquainted with my grandchildren, especially the ones who grew up with me, before our geographical distancing. I never visit Facebook to chronicle my fascinating or more often, boring life, at least in the eyes of those who have anteceded me.

I’m delighted to see the changing profile pictures of my granddaughter and some of the insightful comments about life in general, but I wonder if I need a formal application to be included, or at least get honorable mention, as a friend of the family. After a visit to Florida, the highlight of her visit was a photo of her and a dolphin. Shows good taste, anyway. Dolphins are so smart. I like Ahi Tuna and so does my grandson, so maybe there’s a raw fish connection between me and the dolphins and my grandson and by extension, the rest of the family.

What has all the above to do with pecking orders? My opinion is that Facebook strongly reinforces the belief that grandparents are the lowest persons in the pecking order of the family. In fact, when former United States President, Bill Clinton, began a discussion with former United States President George Bush, pertaining to Bush’s role as a grandparent, George Bush defined a grandparent as the lowest person in the pecking order of the family. Amazing, two men who didn’t fall off a turnip truck in their former lives, but who held the position which belongs to the most powerful person in this country, and they have been, or will consider themselves, relegated to the bottom of the family pecking order.

Like Tina Turner, who asked what’s love got to do with it?, I paraphrase and ask what’s age got to do with it? Plenty, and that’s the problem. We are a civilization which is hung up on numbers. Social Security used to be the identifier, but now, in addition, you’re asked for your birth year, which you offer sotto voce, the way you used to mumble your weight at weight watchers.

I admit I do play the age card when the lines are very long, and someone offers to let me cut in. Don’t get to play that card very often in a state where there’s so much white hair and lots of accompanying wrinkles. However, when I’m out in the world and people can only guess at my age, and it’s every woman for herself, I do as I’ve done all of my life. I cope. In fact, I sometimes more than cope because it’s the only option in town.

However, the pecking order comes into play when I am in the rightful place in which my family places me. I can’t find my keys. Understandable. I am old and my memory has been seriously eroded. I have to make a decision to change my health plan. Someone needs to step up to the plate. I was a Health Care Executive for 25 years, but that was before my apparent lobotomy. As for anything wireless? Inappropriate time of birth. When it comes to uploading and downloading? Hopeless. I don’t really want to play with your toys, anyway. You can wear your Google glasses but you still won’t be able to decipher my cursive letters. So there! At least I’m not an Android, but dinosaurs have more fun. For now. Just remember extinction!

Kermit,Kermit, where is my permit?

September 13th, 2014 by Evelyn

If you have a handicapped parking permit and you forget to hang it in the window when you exit your car, you could find yourself up the creek without a paddle. Or at least it might feel that way. And so I have written myself a little ditty and I am searching for a little green frog to hang in my window as my memory jogger, because I don’t want to mess with the police again.

You see, before I was citationed, I parked my car in the main library parking lot, the library where I volunteer for two to three hours every Thursday, loaded with a full bag of books from my favorite candy store. In my haste to improve my tardiness record, I move quickly, at dinosaur’s pace, from the car to the building and yes, due to my inability to multitask, I forget to hang my permit. Along comes the Gendarme -maybe it’s a slow day and there aren’t many violators – and whoops, there’s a car in a handicapped space and there’s no permit hanging against the windshield.

So I finish my stint in the library and there’s something tucked against the windshield and if it were an ad, all the cars would have one but no, just me, and it’s a citation. $255 fine and my heart jumps out of my chest. I know I can dispute it, but it’s such a process. In addition, whoever issued the citation, accused me of parking my car in lot 10 at City Hall and not in the parking lot at the public library.

Everything has to be copied and sent to the DMV as proof of having a permit. First you phone and protest the incorrectness of the parking lot, and you are not accused of nitpicking in so many words, but that’s the general idea. After all, an overloaded police department can’t be expected to get everything right. So you send a copy of everything requested and you better get everything right – and then you wait. You call for 4 weeks and you’re told it’s under review. What are they reviewing? Your stupidity or your inability to multitask? Also, you are only allowed to have this memory lapse once a year, so you’d better never again forget to hang your permit in the window.

At last the letter comes. I have been forgiven and the citation Is rescinded. I put the permit on the passenger seat because tucking it into the glove compartment is too risky. As they say, out of sight out of mind. I drive over to a toy store to find a little frog, small enough not to block my view, and I hang him from my mirror. I name the keeper of my permit, Kermit, and now I just have to hope that I remember why Kermit is hanging from my mirror. And that Kermit rhymes with permit. Oh and that the DMV is not tolerant of memory loss. At least not more than one time a year.