Journal of a Living Lady #344
Nancy White Kelly
Our son Charlie thinks his parents are ancient. He never really says so, but I can tell by little statements he makes now and then. He just turned 29. We did have him late in life, but decrepit we are not.
Funny how your prospective changes as you edge closer to the other end of life’s spectrum. Elderly is always ten years away. While Buddy is a dozen year older, I hardly consider myself a senior citizen. Yet, I must admit that the signs all point to the advent of my golden years.
It was with amusement that I discovered an official name for my presenting condition. The acronym is A.AA.D.D. which stands for: Age-Activated Attention Deficit Disorder. My symptoms usually start in the morning and are most prevalent if Buddy is away for some early event which is usually breakfast with his buddies.
I go to the kitchen to put the coffee kettle on and notice that my pot of petunias needs watering. While heading toward them with the water left in the kettle from the day before, I see that the cat bowl is empty. I put the kettle on the dining table to fill the cat bowl. It is then that I notice the unopened mail from yesterday. I stop to flip through the bills, tossing the excess envelopes and junk papers into the trash can which is full. I pull out the plastic liner, tie it up and start to the corner of the kitchen where the box of new trash bags resides. The phone rings and I place the garbage bag in the center of the kitchen floor.
After a brief conversation, I try to remember what I was doing. Oh, yes, the tea kettle. I find it on the dining table wondering why it was there instead of on the stove top. On the way to fill the kettle with fresh water, I see that the petunias are still wilted. On the way to attend to the flowers, I observe the still empty cat bowl. I place the kettle on the dining table and rattle the bag of cat feed. The cat races into the kitchen and lays at my feet in a position that says, “Scratch me, please.”
I put the bag down and rub his belly. When I return to an up-right position, I ask myself what I was doing. Oh, yes. The coffee kettle. There it is again in the center of the dining table. On the way to the sink to fill the kettle, I kick the bag of trash in the kitchen floor. That is no place for the trash, so I place the kettle on the table and take the bag outside to the dumpster. On the way, I notice that the yard flowers need watering. I connect the nozzle and drag the coiling green hose closer.
Good grief! I am still in my pajamas. My Mama taught me better.
I lay the hose amongst the flowers to continue that task as I head inside to find some clothes for the day. Passing through the kitchen I see the kettle on the table. I stop to retrieve it and observe that there is still no trash bag in the garbage can. Heading to the kitchen corner to get a new one, my eyes catch sight of the empty cat bowl again. This time I determine to stay on task.
After dressing, I fill the kettle with fresh water and put it on the gas stove eye. In the meanwhile, I head to the computer to check my email. A half hour later I catch a whiff of the melting plastic handle of the then dry kettle.
In spite of my slow start, I make my coffee and take my usual place in the den recliner and pick up the newspaper. Now, where are my reading glasses? Not a single pair is in sight, much less in reaching distance. I sit for a moment to reflect on the effort it would take to arise from the recliner and perform a search.
Inertia sets in. My eyelids get heavy and a brief morning nap ensues. When I awaken, I make my way to the kitchen sink to wash my coffee cup.
Oops. No water comes from the spout. How could that be? Of course. The well is empty from the water hose which I left unattended.
Bottom line: At the end of the day, there is still no food in the cat bowl, no liner in the trash can and the paper is still folded.
Maybe Charlie’s silent assessment of my senioritis is right. It does seem I am spending a lot of time these days thinking about the hereafter. What am I here after?
Don’t be too smug. Senility is sneaky and reveals itself in other subtle ways. Try this. Say "silk" five times. Now spell "silk." What do cows drink? If you said “milk,” then join the senile crowd.