Call me crazy, but I don’t listen to music when I drive. I pay attention to the road and wonder why so many people drive in such a rush blatantly distracted on their phones. I on the other hand like to think. Yes, just think. I think of good times, I think of bad times, I think of what I have learned, what I want to write about, my goals, the amazing people I have met and loved in my life, and so on.
On my way to the doctor’s office today for a regular checkup, I thought about why would anyone want to live to 100? Sad to say, but society views the elderly in a different way and sometimes not in a respectful way if you ask me. You hear things like “You drive like an old man” or “I was stuck behind this old person checking out at the supermarket so that’s why I am late” and so on. Yes, we all have heard or said these discriminating things at one point or another. We might be joking or might not be, but the truth is, we need to show respect and thank the elderly (whenever we can) for all they have contributed in their times and also because we don’t know how we will be when we get to that age or feel when people will discriminate or make jokes about us.
Ok, so I arrive at the doctor’s office and luckily (because of this horrible flu season) there is only one person in the waiting room. He’s an older man, wearing a fishing hat with his head down and his hands resting on his knees. I could not see his face. I walk towards the counter, check-in and sit down on the other side. As I start to look around and ponder how many germs are on each of these magazines, the doctor comes out. He notices me, he winks and makes his way towards the man. In a soft and considerate tone (since the man had his head down) he says “Hi David” (extends his hand for a shake) – the man looks up slowly and extends his hand to shake the Doc’s.
At this point, I got to see the side of his face as he took his hat off before greeting the doctor as any gentleman would and should. (I hold back tears as I write this because it makes me think of my Father) This man was not just an older man; he was elderly. Probably in his late 80’s or early 90’s. He looked worn. Short stubby thinned white hair, visible bruises from falling or bumping into things, and red noticeable broken vessels all over. “How are you?” the Doctor asked – The man looked at him, shook his head softly and I could see he was holding back tears.
“Is it the memory that’s bothering you, David?” The doctor asked. The man nodded as in yes and let out a soft short broken sentence “Sucks to get old”…
“It’s ok David, you will be fine, it will be ok. I just wanted to tell you that Esther is ok. The fall was not bad and she is good to go home. Oh, here she is, your bride, and she is ready for you!” – A nurse opens the door, and here is this older woman with her walker and a smile from ear to ear. She tells the doctor “please tell my husband I behaved today?” – LOL (cute right?) – The doctor jokes and replies “Nope, you flirted with me as always Esther” The lady looks at me and smiles. Then their daughter walks out, looks at me, smiles too. At this point, the man stands up slowly, puts his hat back on, turns around and looks at me seriously for a second or two, then turns away and slowly walks out.
I think he must have realized that I captured his moving and personal moment earlier and wanted to get a good look at me.
They leave, the automatic doors close and all that was left was silence, and me sitting alone to think. Could or will this be me one day? Could this man have possibly neglected his youth, wanting to live forever only to regret and realize now, holding back tears, that growing old sucks because he no longer can remember?
Could he have turned to me, stared at me for those seconds and mentally say – “You will be me one day, so appreciate your mind, while you still have it.”