Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Growing old gracefully is somewhat of an oxymoron. There is nothing graceful about wobbling behind a metal walker or hobbling with cane in hand. J and I have not yet, thankfully, reached that stage but there are other things that come to mind as particularly graceless.
Getting Up And Down. Getting down is not as problematic as getting back up, which requires much forethought and a new kind of dexterity. I often get down on the floor to play with the grandchildren. I’m fine sitting cross-legged or sprawled on my side but it requires both of mine and all four of the grandkids’ arms to get me upright again. I can lean on one hand, push myself onto my knees and from there manage (with a boost) to stand. Or I can grab onto something sturdy and haul myself unceremoniously to my feet. Neither way exhibits grace in any form, especially when accompanied by various grunts and whistling breaths.
Getting Caught. Not the old standbys like getting caught in a zipper or getting trapped in your car. Getting caught on the toilet seat is NOT the same thing. J recounts the time her mother slipped unannounced into the bathroom. Moments later there was a tremendous crash. J ran for the door and called out, “Mom, are you ok?” Mom walked out, adjusting her clothing.
“Of course I’m all right. I just got my jeans caught on the toilet seat.”
J looked at her.
“Well,” demanded her mother. “Hasn’t that ever happened to you?”
“Ummm… no,” said Jan. She was just 42 at the time and it hadn’t happened to her. She tried to imagine such a thing.
“You sit down and your jeans are around your knees. And when you lean forward your jeans hike up in the back and get caught on the edge of the seat and then when you stand up, the seat falls down behind you.”
“Oh,” said Jan.
Now she’s 63 and guess what. Today she slipped unnoticed into the bathroom and moments later there was a tremendous crash.
“Are you all right?” called her husband.
J didn’t even bother to answer. How do you explain such a thing? She did think to herself, “Oh my poor mother. NOW I understand.”
Getting Uncrossed. When we were young ladies we were taught to cross our feet at the ankle when sitting down. Then we learned to cross our legs at the knee, showing off our stockinged calves to boys at dances. Now we can’t do either because of the excess flesh we’ve acquired. Where did it come from? We have lumps and bumps and bulges and it all jams up when we sit down. Nothing crosses anymore; not our flabby arms over our bulging chests, not our chubby knees, not even our puffy ankles. However, we’ve both noticed that our toes are beginning to cross, probably from wearing the wrong shoes all those years. Now we know why native peoples go barefoot.