As I sat in the restaurant taking in the beautiful ambiance and watching the nervous students all dressed up in starched uniforms it occurred to me that even though I am alone in life I don’t have to give up having fun experiences like that….well, as long as I have the money to sign up for senior hall events and classes, that is. I don’t think I could raise much money if I stood on a corner holding up a sign saying: Will work for cash so I can eat at the culinary institute’s five star restaurant!
It also occurred to me while sitting over lunch that some of the other women in our group could feel as lonely as I do at times. But as I listened to the chit-chat around me, I concluded that they weren’t sitting at my table. Two of my table mates were former co-workers and they still meet every morning for coffee with a group that’s been doing it for twenty years. Two other ladies were widowed 12-13 years ago and they seem to be quite at easy and content with traveling the world by themselves. The fifth person at our table for six still has a husband. Woo is me. I still can’t find a friend that I can call up and say, “I feel like I just climbed Mount Everest! I finally figured out why my new iPod Nano wasn’t syncing PSY!”
I have an in-law whose kids are talking about putting her in an assisted living facility. She lives close by and since Don died I’ve been in the habit of stopping by her house 2-3 times a month. I am SO going to miss that connection to Don’s family if she’s banished from the neighborhood. There’s not much difference in our ages and it’s also hard to watch others---strangers in the medical community---pass judgment of whether or not a person is safe living alone. My brother and I shared-care of my dad for five years when he was in the early stages of dementia so I’m not blind to the problems families in this situation face, but as a bias senior citizen I want to see families go the extra mile, like we did, to support their parents in their own homes for as long as possible. Woo is me again. At my age, it’s depressing to think about how that last chapter or two of life will be written if we don’t play our cards right.
Today I got a call from a number that showed up as ‘unknown’ on my caller ID. The man on the line had a thick accent and he wanted me to go to my computer because, he claimed, an unauthorized download was happening as we spoke. He said he was from Windows tech support and he was going to help me stop the download from infecting my computer. “Hey, aren’t you the same guy who tried to sell me the Brooklyn Bridge last week?” The call reminded me of a “directive” my lawyer gave me last summer when I set up a new will. She told me to always look at caller ID and never answer the phone if I didn’t recognize the caller. She made me feel so old to be perceived as being too naïve or out-of-touch to recognize a scam when I hear one. I should have thanked my caller today for reminding me that I still have a few good brain cells left in my head. There’s no need for anyone to follow ME around with commitment papers to ship me off to no-man’s land for the crime of being over 70 when you burn something in the microwave. Hey, as a preventative measure, maybe I should sign up for the course in culinary math down at the institute for culinary education! I bet those students never accidentally program three minutes in when they meant to punch 30 seconds. ©