I’m sure this has happened to you. You go to the grocery store and when you are finished you get into a checkout lane to pay and leave. Sometimes, like me, you get into the wrong lane.
Just the other day I did it again. I got into the wrong lane for checkout. Things were moving along smoothly when suddenly the line stopped. I looked and saw an elderly lady trying to pay for her groceries. She was having difficulty figuring out how to use the equipment for her credit card. Even with the cashier helping, she just couldn’t get the thing to work. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the card passed through and she was able to get her groceries and leave.
Now me, ever the patient one, stood there and waited for the ceremony to be completed so I could pay and go home. I did pay and as I went to my car I was struck by the events I had just witnessed. I was fuming and fussing about being inconvenienced when I came to realize maybe the lady probably couldn’t help what had just happened. Maybe she was doing her best. Maybe I was wrong for being impatient.
If we are fortunate enough to live to an old age, we all slow down. Our agility suffers. Our comprehension skills start to slow as well.
As for me, I have recently developed a very close and personal relationship with some of the itis cousins. My closest is Arthur. His relatives are rheumatoid, osteo, psoriatic, Cole, and countless others. If I am true to myself, I know there are probably times when youngsters wait in line behind me. When I think about it, I am embarrassed by my reaction to the elderly lady in the grocery checkout lane ahead of me. That could have just as easily been me.
The same thing happens sometimes when driving. There are times when someone camps in the passing lane and refuses to allow traffic to get by. They want to go slower than you do. Often the driver is elderly. Many times they seem to be hanging on to the steering wheel with both hands with their attention straight ahead not being aware of anybody or anything else. It can be infuriating. Personally I also drive much slower than I did in my youth. One reason is I get much better gas mileage plus I find it easier on me not having to compete with other traffic on the highway. But I do move over to the far right lane and have traveled this way for several years.
As for us older people I think it is important that we, because we can, pick and choose our grocery shopping times as well as our travel times. I don’t want to compete for space in the grocery store or on the highway. When people have to get to work, I prefer to let them have the roads. Also I try to do my grocery shopping during the week instead of on the weekends. I don’t have to get to work and I have the time during the week for my chores. I would much prefer to be still lounging in my pjs while others are fighting rush hour traffic.
The message to all of us including me is to try and be a little more patient with older people. Believe me they would much rather be moving quicker. I remember when Mickey Mantle retired he said, “I still run as hard as I ever did, I just don’t get there as quick.” That’s probably true of me and most older people.