Three sisters, ages 92, 94 and 96, live in a house together. One night the 96 year old draws a bath. She puts one foot in and pauses. She yells down the stairs, “was I getting in or out of the bath?”
The 94 year old yells back, “I don’t know, I’ll come up and see.” She starts up the stairs and pauses. Then she yells out, “was I going up the stairs or down?”
The 92 year old is sitting at the kitchen table having tea and listening to her sisters. She shakes her head and says, “I sure hope I never get that forgetful.” She ‘knocks on wood’ for good measure and then replies, “I’ll come up and help both of you as soon as I see who’s at the door!”
As a small child I remember thinking the ‘old guy’ that always sat at his window, looking outside to make sure no one stepped on his perfectly manicured lawn, was a bit creepy. In his defense, neighborhood kids did make it a point to purposely throw balls onto his lawn and (before we were taught to pick up after our dogs) dogs regularly used his front lawn as their own public pooper-scooper.
Since living back with my parents I’ve noticed that they, too, spend an awful lot of time sitting in front of THEIR window. They watch for the mailman (they don’t get much more than medical bills); the meals-on-wheels delivery man (with whom they’re on a first name basis); the UPS truck (when I tell them I’m expecting a package but it probably won’t arrive for weeks); and their grandkids (as if wishing for it will actually make it happen).
I realize they have little to look forward to on a daily basis but it seems a bit paranoid of them to watch out for, say, impending snow when only an inch or two is predicted and they have nowhere to go in it anyway. But I suppose it does make the days go by faster and maybe, in their minds, it might even make them feel more a part of their surroundings now that they spend so much of their time indoors.
As I think back on that ‘old guy’ next door and remember how my Dad used to call him a busybody and a cranky old man, it feels as if time has come full circle only now it’s my Dad who has earned the title of ‘crotchety-old-dude.’
But, if truth be told and years of hard living give you some street cred, he’s truly earned it!
I probably climb these stairs between four and six times a day. It’s a fairly good workout (except for my poor knees) but it’s honestly brought about not so much from my need to stay fit as it is because I’m tired of waiting for the elevator to arrive.
Like most conscientious people, I try to eat right and exercise. Of course, my idea of eating right may be very different from yours. I tend to eat mostly salmon or chicken with brown rice and broccoli, cauliflower or edemame. Sounds healthy, right? It would be if I left it at that. However, I have a terrible sweet tooth and must end every meal with chocolate. Dark chocolate but chocolate nonetheless. And even though I break my chocolate bars into pieces, I haven’t quite mastered the skill of eating just one piece at a time.
So, back to those stairs… I have no problem using the stairs instead of the elevator and, when I drive my car someplace, I try to park as far away from the entrance as possible (again, in full disclosure, it’s as much about my car not getting hit by a shopping cart or by another car’s door). Even without trying, I probably walk a few thousand steps each day. And that helps make the chocolate all the sweeter!
We all know about the concept of ‘paying it forward.’ Whether you’ve been on the receiving end of it or you initiated the action, it’s a positive phenomenon that can be a real game changer.
But it has its drawbacks, too.
The other day, while out shopping with my Dad, I let someone (with only two items in their hands) go ahead of me in the checkout line. Not only was he holding a place in line for someone else but that person eventually showed up with an entire full cart. Now, he could have explained that he was waiting for another person or he could have declined the offer but, instead, he pretty much guaranteed me never doing that again.
Another time, on the road, I let someone cut in front of me. One person inside of one car. As a result, an entire line of cars then proceeded to fly right through a stop sign (behind that one car) and try to squeeze in front of my car. Never again.
Yet another time I held open a door for a woman using a walker and also holding onto a dog’s leash. By the time I got to the elevator (after quickly checking my mail) she had already gotten into the elevator, closed the door and gone up to the top floor of the building – not even bothering to hold the door an extra second for me.
So, what’s the bottom line? Never go out of your way to help another human being? Only think of yourself in any and all situations? Do unto others… just don’t expect them to pay it forward (or back)? Or maybe it’s a simple case of nice guys DO finish last!
If your parents ever told you, “that’s just an old wives tale,” you aren’t alone. However, these ’stories’ can run the gamut from curiously helpful to completely whacky. Here are the Top 5 best ‘luck’ ones I’ve heard to date:
1) A cricket in the house brings good luck – not to the person who can’t sleep through the noise.
2) It’s bad luck to leave through a different door than the one used to come in – ummmm, anyone ever hear of an apartment?
3) If the palm of your right hand itches it means you will soon be getting money – that’s not what the nuns told my male Catholic school friends.
4) It’s bad luck to leave shoes upside down – especially if you stepped in something outside.
5) An apple a day keeps the doctor away – not a good thing if you’re married to the doctor.
So, all in all, as long as you refrain from crossing your eyes, making an ugly face, stepping on a crack or swallowing a watermelon pit, you should be just fine. At least until the next time you eat before swimming, sit too close to the tv or crack your knuckles!
As you age, you notice certain parts of your body fail to work quite as well as they used to work. Your eyes don’t see as well and your ears don’t hear as well. You might experience a change in your taste buds and certain smells that you used to enjoy may now seem unpleasant.
Supposedly (much like ‘when a door closes, a window opens’), when one of your senses starts to decline, another one becomes stronger. People who are born without sight or hearing or even limbs have been known to accomplish incredible feats due to this phenomenon. Some of our best known artists, musicians and athletes are among them.
So, if it takes you a little longer to get around or you have to rely on the kindness of others when performing daily tasks… fear not. We’re all in this together. Today you may notice the daily struggles encountered by your elders but tomorrow (or soon enough) your day will come. And even if (one day) your teeth come out of a jar, you can still command an audience with your Life Songs. Just remember to always keep em smiling (and, more importantly, make sure you take those teeth out of the jar first)!
Yesterday, as I was driving Dad to the doctor, a car suddenly slowed down in front of me. The driver made a turn and then put on his blinker.
That was helpful to nobody.
When we took the elevator up to the second floor and attempted to get out, a young couple was waiting right in front of the open door. They just stood there and stared at us as if they weren’t the ones that needed to move.
That was helpful to nobody.
Then when we walked out to the car, we noticed that someone had parked in the van-accessible lines next to our handicapped spot. The reason you’re not supposed to park there is so that handicapped people have more space to get in and out of their vehicle (especially if they use a wheelchair or walker).
That was helpful to nobody.
So here’s my advice to the less than brilliant people of this world:
Think before you act. Be considerate. Rules apply to everyone (including you). Actions have consequences. And, as they like to say in the sporting world… JUST DO IT!
I’m all for full disclosure and share and share alike. But there are exceptions. Keeping the bathroom door open during use is one. Asking your grown daughter to remove an unsightly and ever-annoying piece of nose hair is another. I mean… seriously? That’s a job neither your barber nor your doctor want any part of.
Privacy is a funny thing. A toddler exhibits no understanding of boundaries when he rushes, head first, into his parents bed in the middle of the night – having no clue as to why mommy and daddy are playing ‘doctor’ when they should be sleeping. A parent will insist that a pubescent teenager’s bedroom door remain open during any and all ‘study’ sessions.
Yet some things are just better left unknown – unseen and unheard. Deeply disturbing sights and sounds (horrific crashes or parents having sex) can stay permanently etched in the recesses of your mind. Freedom to come and go as you please is a wonderful privilege. But a door is there… for a reason!