Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Why would I be here if I didn't have to be?

I spent the morning with my dad at the hospital. He had a radiology appointment. We were told to check in at Admitting at 10:30. From there he would have lab work and then proceed to Radiology. It didn't take very long to check in, though it involved more paperwork than he thought necessary.

"I don't know why they have to open up a new account every time I come," he said, not very quietly. On the other hand, he wondered why the Admitting person didn't spend a longer time reviewing the drivers' license he was required to show. "Did you really look at it?" he quizzed her. He then rattled off his drivers' license number for her just in case.

"That's fine," she said, "I just needed to verify that you're who you say you are."

"Why would I be here if I didn't have to be?" he countered.

The lab work went smoothly and soon we were already in the Radiology waiting room. It was only 10:40. Our appointment, we were told, was not until 11:30. They always allow plenty of time for the lab. Great, I thought.

By noon I had read all the available magazines. My dad had visited the men's room a couple of times. I asked the lady-behind-the-glass if she knew how much longer we would be waiting. Then I shared what she had said with my dad.

"She says they're running a little late, and it will be a few more minutes," I whispered into his ear.

"Oh really?" he answered, staring straight ahead. "I never would have guessed that."

I heard giggles all around me.

Finally at 12:15 his name was called. The technician asked him,"You've had this kind of test before, haven't you?"

"I'm 90 years old. I've had every kind of test before."

He came back 45 minutes later. "This place has some problems," he told me as he sat down to rest.

Oh? I was sort of hoping he wouldn't elaborate, but he continued. "They still weren't ready when I got back there, so they put me in a storage closet to wait."

I mumbled something about a construction project but didn't press him about being put in a closet. Turns out I didn't have to.

"Yes, it was just an old closet. Maybe six by six. There were boxes stacked all around me."

Really? Oh. Wow. Hmm. . . .What else was there to say?

Evidently he had thought of something. "I told them I wasn't coming back until they got themselves together. And I'm not."

Fine with me.

Friday, January 19, 2007

60 is the new 40

When I turned on the TV yesterday morning, Today Show host Ann Curry was presiding over a segment called "60 is the new 40." First on was a 67 year old model, discovered at age 63. She's now working for Eileen Ford's modeling agency and living a most unexpected life. She said it was wonderful and looked very happy. I loved the color of her hair-- white-- but thought the style was pathetic. No way the Ford Agency would tolerate that hair on an under-40 model, but I guess they were relieved that she still had hair.

Next, Ann Curry interviewed Raquel Welch and best-selling author Gail "Passages" Sheehy. They both agreed that 60 is the new 40 and that the older model is bound to be very inspirational to aging women. Yes indeedy, I feel better already and know I'll sleep good tonight.

Raquel talked about, uh, Raquel. Sheehy trumpeted her new book Sex and the Seasoned Woman. My favorite moment of all came when one of them said-- are you ready for this-- "But getting older is about more than sex." I was overcome with shock and heard myself shouting at the television, "It is? Oh noooooooo!" In other words, I was profoundly disappointed. My mood did not pick up when Curry closed by inviting the viewers to stay tuned for a feature on depression. But I suppose I can rationalize that not only is getting older not just about sex, it's also not just about depression. Sigh.

I was ever-so-slightly impressed with a phrase spoken by Racquel. She seemed to be regreting her pattern of "living life on the surface" for so many years. Since she's presenting herself as an example of how good an older woman can look-- as opposed to be, for example-- I'm not sure she's much deeper than she's ever been. But perhaps she's trying, and that's all any of us can do.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

The Zone

I spent a couple of hours Thursday playing with two of my best buddies. Their mother, who had a lunch meeting to attend, is also a friend of mine. I never know exactly how the boys and I will spend our time together, because I am definitely not the one in charge. What I can be sure of is that we will have fun and that I will learn something new. Learning something new is a very fortunate thing-- otherwise I might turn into an old fogie.

That afternoon we spent almost all of our time in the boys' bedroom. They had removed the couch and chair cushions and carried them from the living room to their room, where the cushions began new life as a tall tower. That this tower was quite wobbly and was being climbed upon by two wiggly bodies made me a little nervous at first (I imagined myself telling their mother when she returned, "I'm sorry, but they both crashed through the window and I haven't seen them since!"). As time passed, however, I relaxed and entered The Zone.

The Zone is a place where thoughts of schedules and obligations do not exist. In fact, I think they're banned. While in The Zone, my voice switches octaves easily and my body participates in activities that I Do-Not-Attempt-At-Home. Words like poo-poo are funny in The Zone. New ideas and scenarios flow seamlessly, interrupted only occasionally by a call from the bathroom ("Miss Ann, come wipe my bottom!").

We usually play with Sock Monkey, whom I bring from my house. Interestingly enough, I am the one almost always chosen (ie., ordered) to hold Sock Monkey and be his voice. The boys prefer doing things to Sock Monkey. In other words, Sock Monkey is a perpetual victim, doomed to yelping and whining about the unfairness of his plight and begging the boys to make things better for him-- which they invariably refuse to do. Nearly every toy in the house is brought forth to inflict some sort of torment upon poor old Sock Monkey. Thursday he was mashed by couch cushions. Even Lucy the cat was summoned to the bedroom in the hope that she would introduce her claws to Sock Monkey. Instead, Lucy was unimpressed with her potential role in our drama and quickly escaped to a-- relatively-- safe spot under the bed.

Eventually my time in The Zone must always come to an end. Mommy or Daddy arrives home to a joyful reunion, and Miss Ann climbs into her red Bug and waves herself away.