Hey, Anoni here. Some time since I posted as Gusto and I been busy: busy getting old. Gus limps more than he did a while back, and I’m going deaf. Old age has its compensations, like hearing aids and walking sticks, experience and wisdom, but it ain’t much fun. I compensate by bragging that I’m pushing 80, but Gus just holds his back and groans. No good lying about our age, in fact we’ve got to the stage feeling satisfied, when folks we know drop off the perch and we’re still here.
Last year I got new vision when I got my cataracts done. Lordy, I could see the sky blue like when I was young. I hadn’t noticed it get paler till I saw the real thing.
Now I got hearing aids. I hardly noticed hearing loss but people sure are murmuring more these days. What? Speak up! If people didn’t mutter I’d have saved a packet on aids. Look at me when you speak, I want to read your lips. I gave in when my muttering teenage grandson sighed and said ” When you gonna get your hearing tested, Grandma?” Way I look at it, hearing aids ain’t sexy, even when invisible, but there’s nothing sexy going on anyway.
She fitted aids in both my ears and at first the volume was so high, it hurt. A paper bag crackling sounded like a cave collapsing. Her speech was so fine, her Ts whistled and she could have broadcast on the radio. I heard people chatting in the next room who weren’t there a moment earlier. I could have eaves-dropped for the FBI. My own voice startled me, sounding deeper and richer than I knew. (I must sound young because guys still flirt with me on the phone.) Hearing like this would be TOO LOUD but then she adjusted the microphones through her computer, just right for my hearing.
At home I heard the clock tick, my shoes squeak, keyboard clatter. I turned down the volume on TV but Gus turned it up again. He’s next. I get mad when I can’t hear the dialogue on Hallmark for the background music. She said I should wear them all day but there are some sounds I’m happy to tune out. Have you lived with an old man? When the hearing specialist commiserated “It’s upsetting when you can’t hear the preacher,” I said “Sounds to me like another good excuse to stay home.” No one needs a hearing aid at the movies, but I think they’ll be useful in a crowd or listening to the radio. Mostly it’ll save me asking people, ‘‘Say again?’’
I just got a device with a button to press if I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. No way do I want to lie on the carpet, looking up in an ad, bleating for help that doesn’t come. That’s pathetic. I know I’ve got Gus but he doesn’t hear when he naps. If I press the button, the call center answers and organizes back-up, an ambulance if necessary by request, or if I don’t respond. They call your folks to check on you anyway. I haven’t fallen yet but the point is to get the device first.
I was thinking that I probably have more dead old boyfriends than live ones in my past, who were often older than me. That’s one way to feel lucky. Another is, knowing that I’ll never wear high heels again. When women walk on tippy toes atop platforms, is a good time to be 80. I’m sorry for the generation fixing to draw their pension in the 2050s, having bunions and tattoos.
I’m pleased to say that I still have all but two of my teeth (and the gaps don’t show).
The dentist suggested I replace a tooth with visible filling, by a root canal and cap, for a couple thousand dollars. If I smile less I don’t need to be that extravagant.
I could do with hip replacements. It’s painful to walk more than a quarter mile and I’m looking around for a seat, wherever I am. There should be more benches in town as I get older, at shorter intervals.
Think positive, I say. One big benefit of getting old is being at ease in new company. I’m not shy. I don’t waste energy conforming. I tried to fit in when young, now I let people fit around me. I know who I am and what I think. I’m not shapely but I’m interesting.
I’m not outrageous (don’t cuss in Virginia) but sometimes I think people need to hear what I have to say. I support LGBT, despise dogma, think Trump is an idiot, and believe in a woman’s right to contraception and control of her own body. When it comes to war, the politicians’ and the generals’ sons should be called up first, no exceptions like bone spurs. Everyone should believe in Evolution and Climate Change and Socialism isn’t a dirty word. If employers paid a living wage, workers wouldn’t need food stamps. Nobody, especially veterans, should be homeless or without health care in our country, the world’s richest. And American Justice often isn’t. How come we have more people locked up than China, with a fraction of their population? Black Lives, All Lives, matter. If these views make me unpopular, I can live with that.
So, I can see and hear clearly now I got fixed. My pantry’s full, the freezer’s well stocked, I have good books from the library and Gus has stacked the wood pile. If we don’t run out of matches, we’ll be fine. The living room wood burner smells good, with a pot of soup on top.
Getting old and not having to work ain’t that bad.