The world probably knows by now that I am disabled and a bit elderly. That is, I’m a walking disaster about to happen. My family treats me as fragile and that’s fine with me, as long as they also love me and fear my wrath at the same time. I have spent a lot of years becoming formidable, and I don’t intend to lose that attribute now.
Which makes it particularly annoying to have to spend a good part of every morning figuring out what I can and cannot do that day.
Is this a minor China breakage or a Lenox Apocalypse kind of day? How many things will I drop and can I bend to pick them up? And if someone else has to pick them up for me, will I accept graciously? Gracious is also what I aspire to be, but it can be a struggle when I feel like a doddering old lady—my, my, what an awful thing to be in our society.
To be old is to be irrelevant. Most cashiers in most big box stores know this. Their eyes are busy roaming the oncoming lines for someone they might like to talk to instead of the Grey Panther in front of them. I make an effort to be gracious, nonetheless.
One of my younger female doctors recently completed a checklist audibly. “Sexually active, no.“ You can imagine how much I enjoyed startling her with a robust affirmative. With a large smile, of course, because one must be gracious.
Today is a possible China apocalypse day, so I am lying in my armchair with the heat and massage built in and working up to slowly, oh, so slowly, unpacking my husband’s grandmother’s China. It will happen one plate at a time, with both hands.
Sometimes I dream of twirling, and running, bouncing on trampolines, riding horses—anything that would send my family into hysterics if I actually attempted to do them.
Then I handle the China carefully and am, oh, so gracious while I serve whatever I have managed to concoct for dinner. A simple affair these days. But what leads up to it is always full of drama.