Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Father's Fascination with Old Age

My father called me this morning at 7:30 to tell me how old my Great Uncle Roy is getting which included a long story of how Great Uncle Roy has trouble walking 10 times around his kitchen like he's supposed to do for exercise every day. And how he shouldn't be driving anymore because he's gotten too dangerous.
Firstly, I'm completely jealous of Great Uncle Roy and his exercise regiment. I circle around my kitchen at least ten times every morning looking for something more entertaining than oatmeal to eat. And that's without lifting one foot, because my kitchen is too small to actually take a full step in any direction.
Secondly, I assume that this is the habit of people new to retirement. Calling me to tell me how old everyone is. How Jack the dog must have had a stroke and can't remember who he is. How Ollie the cat is blind and falls off things now, like the stairs. How Zoe the dog is lame in the morning. Dad seems to be giving aspirin to everyone.
When I visit he talks about people from work dying in accidents or distant relatives who are in their eighties and can't travel anymore.
The first thing he looks at in the paper are the obituaries. But not for people he knows. He looks at the ages everyone died and compares them to his age. If people are younger he seems to think he's overstayed his welcome and if they're older then he still has hope of another year or two.
Even as I walk away carrying the four loads of laundry that I just did at his house for free (because I firmly believe that if I ACT young I will stay young) he yells down the stairs that some 85 year old man just came down with Parkinson's.
As I spent my weekend comparing middle-ages ailments with my best friend, I suppose I shouldn't think myself too different from the gene pool I grew out of.

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