If one has lived long enough, it’s easy to unearth heaps of sorrows before even looking at something current. Number one on the list is probably the death of someone beloved. Number two may be a substantial and genuine injustice suffered. Number three might be a thing into which someone put much effort which turned out to be a failure. Regardless of what it is, everyday things shove it into the memory, and from there it creeps out with the slightest of nudging to put a damper on things at hand.
So, okay, one pauses for a moment, then re-addressed the thing at hand. That pause can definitely slow things down, and there’s nothing sensible one can do but gear up and get started again as life does go onward. (Maybe that’s what makes old people slow, at least in part.) Unfortunately, the shift into pause and re-group can come at inopportune times and for the slightest of reasons that have little to do with whatever is at hand. Case in point: the death this week of a resident of the apartment building:
The trip to the lobby area was to pay the rent. A wrinkled partial sheet of paper on the bulletin board bore the resident’s name and notice of funeral services laboriously hand printed. It’s known that the death rate is maybe nine percent annually (what that is in the general population isn’t known) and that many only get such a note on bulletin boards. It caused a pause. He will not be around any more. A nice person who said little, he had been around less than a year, but did add his bit to the common good.
It doesn’t take much to be missed.
People use computers for all sorts of reasons, some of them not so good. Saddest of all, of course, are those cases where a fantastic means of communications and source of information is used as a way to victimizing others. It’s not hard to see logic in the criminal’s mind. If the victim is not local, the criminal’s good reputation may generally stay intact wherever he or she is. That idea isn’t new. It was simply less used when it had to be more physically done. With social networking quite popular, "online friends” needs discussion.
Mention computers to the uninitiated (especially women) and first words are likely to be “Oh! Coupons!” At that point, changing the subject is wise. For others who aren’t teaching a class or running a business. etc., it’s a chance to nearly simultaneously “meet” people from the ends of the Earth – in one minute converse with a person in South Africa and within ten minutes reply to someone in Alaska. For those with inquiring souls and no desire to believe advertising or study scholarly works, surfing the web is it.
These days many websites promote “groups.” That’s above and beyond messages boards and chat forms where people with odd “names” post statements hoping people with other odd “names” will respond positively. The assumption in some cases is that others are just dying to be in a part of group if someone would just ask them. So, people ask, but they often ask selectively, those visible like stars in the night. If it adds up okay, why not? One can figure one friend per hundred people on a message board. Maybe.
Exploring the world can be fun.
As is known, there have been many tales and reports (fiction and true) of life in “retirement homes,” some good, some not so good, some big deals, some little local stuff of interest to managements and relatives of the inhabitants. It’s not really a topic of universal interest, not even if someone brings up government money that might be involved. It comes up every so often as a topic because it touches the life of someone. There is an aspect to it that takes it out of the mainstream of living. There’s no future.
Maybe the biggest and best “productions” of tales were a couple of fictional television series run by the British Broadcasting corporation for several decades (also seen in the United States). They mostly were humor. There is an exasperating humor in the living. A so-called puttering around exists, too; but, that, naturally, is limited in rental units. Somebody else owns the building. The “adjustment” phase can be interesting. Someone buys into the advertising like “senior living,” then sees all the canes and walkers.
Words like “retirement community” once literally meant a collection of relatively expensive houses occupied only by older people with children married off and established elsewhere. Now it can mean any collection of old people. It’s convenient for social workers. The collection of old people can be in close quarters, like eighteen one bedroom apartments on a floor of a big building. Folks see each other and evidently make judgments, which might explain a bag of new socks unceremoniously tied to yours truly’s doorknob.
Mysteries can be found anywhere.
Possibly the most annoying aspect of the personal situation is the nose drip (with no forewarning) followed closely by the coughing (and a need to spit). Two boxes of facial tissues per week would not be enough if they weren’t torn in half and supplemented by other similar paper products. Strangely, frequently yours truly sits somewhat unmoved, such as if reading the building bulletin board, and there’s no such thing. But, the moment there is a movement away from the whatever, there is a cough, nose drip or both.
Dealing with that and difficulty in walking very far are bad enough in themselves, but one can always get just a little sicker, like add a summer cold to life’s annoyances. Such may turn up similarly after doing something. It was past time for the monthly trip to the bank by yesterday. Although not feeling especially spiffy, a going was needed. Things seemed all right enough until early evening, then rest seemed needed. It lasted all night with a likely pain first one place then another. There was no exertion ( or supper).
That kind of thing has to come, of course, amid disruption of other activities. Presently the internet connectivity is bad enough that a trip in the hall down to the elevators is needed to get online for a few minutes (maybe twenty). The grocery advertising for the week has little of the things used, so something else must be figured out in regard to food and by tomorrow. A problem arose Sunday on the nearest thing to a local message board. So much for any local contacts for the moment.
Merry-go-rounds belong at fairs.
In schools all over the world, sooner or later, many children surely have been told of the latitude (climate) zones around the Earth. If one starts at – say – the north pole and moves in any direction, one goes south. One is in the Arctic region up to point “x” after which it’s the Temperate zone and so on. Some may even have found out that the farther up a mountain one goes, the colder it gets. It’s not been particularly important in the scheme of things. Most folks don’t spend their lives running up and down the globe.
At any age in any given area there can be comments about it being hot outside with little thought about such “zones.” Yet hot outside is relative. Even if all things such as wind direction are the same, the same number of degrees that makes it “hot” one place is seen as “cool” some miles to the south (or north if one is in the southern hemisphere). The thing here is, in today’s global living, comments such as “It’s hot” (or bitter cold) don’t always convey the right idea or even an accurate description of the situation.
In July in the immediate area it can be quite hot and muggy. Older folks, among others, reportedly feel the heat more. It can be more difficult to breathe or something. Eighty-five degrees Fahrenheit is considered a heat emergency. Weekend or not, maintenance is to drop everything and fix the air conditioner. Recently yours truly left the cooled off apartment and immediately met a wave of heat in the hall and acclimated. It happened again downstairs at the front door. Ten minutes outside generated thoughts of survival.
One must remember one’s age.
Many wars have started and died down in the last three-quarters of a century. One might say a century, except World War I ended by ninety years ago and most – not all – people would not know someone over ninety years old with an actual recollection of World War I. There are people over a hundred; there are a lot of people over seventy-five. Whether an “official” Congressionally declared war or “police action” with decades of peace treaty negotiations or a one month’s run somewhere, they all included civilian war effort.
Currently, Afghanistan rides high in the minds of wives, husbands, parents and older children as well as other relatives and friends of those in the middle of Asia. Afghanistan is not the only concern in the area; but, it is a key element. And, firmly hung on the bulletin board of the likes of old folks’ homes, one can find pictures of a group in battle gear – people for whom there is an opportunity to be collecting socks, toothpaste and other odds and ends by the senior citizens’ brigade. Letters are also appreciated.
The appeal has always been pretty much the same, variable on the basis of climate and scientific advancement. Parents especially, as in the apartment building at hand, readily ask. It’s their kid that’s going to be under fire for the next year or so. A person down the hall may be a stranger and low on funds or deep in dealing with the likes of the current plague of bed bugs. He or she may be the one that contributes the most. It is in an old folks’ home. Mother or the father may not last out the year. Some haven’t.
Tomorrow can be like yesterday.
A good many people know of the story of Aladdin (Ala’ad-Din) and the magic lamp, which has as it’s pivotal point a street chant of “New lamps for old.” It’s so well known that people often use the saying without bothering to explain anything about the significance of it. It’s not impossible that such would be a fair trade or unfair otherwise, magic aside; but, both that and the claim that Aladdin’s tale isn’t really part of the Arabian Nights collection isn’t important here. What’s important is the principle.
In the story, the new lamp had no where near the value of the old one. Most often something “new” is better than something “old” for several reasons. Technological improvements is just one. The old might be worn out is another. But, new is not always better than old. It can be an outright useless thing with something like words. There are words used online – refined words – that simply do not work in everyday life. Television, to many, is something watched, not “viewed,” even though people are “viewers.”
“View,” and other now commonly used “sniffy” words, are strongly prompted by computers. Sadly, it seems like some things have been lost. “View” is an easy demonstration. Today, everything is “viewed.” Nothing is looked at or watched. Will a baby-sitter be as effective if a child is “viewed” rather than “watched”? Or, what about, “View the time! You’re an hour late.” In some places like old folks’ homes the speaker may not even be understood. The resultant word loss just can’t be good.
Old ideas aren’t all bad.