Getting old is like keeping an antique car running. It’s a constant effort to replace worn parts, some of which are no longer available, and tinker with the parts you can’t replace, and put up with the creaking and inflexibility of the parts you can’t reach. Someone told me this week ankles are now included in the list of parts that can be replaced. I don’t need one, but its nice to know, along with shock absorbers (knees) and oil pumps (hearts), we now can buy new u-joints (ankles).
We used to joke about how nice it would be to order new parts at Sears. Unfortunately, Sears is gone, but …
A doctor told me recently he wanted me to start using a particular piece of equipment that I’m supposed to strap on when I go to bed and it will keep me breathing while I sleep. It must be working. I started using it about a year ago and I still wake up alive in the morning, with no indication a change in that status is imminent.
There was a thing he wanted to do to my pump. A simple thing, he said. Done it lots of times.
Which made me think: Why do they call it a “procedure.” I must admit “procedure” is a more expensive sounding word, but we likely could erase the Medicare debt if we’d just call it, like our antique car, “going in the shop.”
So I went in the shop – albeit an expensive one – and came out purring.
I turned 71 a couple months ago. I remember when my mother was 46. She voted for John Kennedy, who also was 46. I was surprised either of them had lived that long. Mom passed at 80-something. By that time, I wasn’t surprised. I was way older than 46, with no signs of an age limit.
Sometimes my body reminds me how long and how hard I’ve been beating it up. I wake in the morning feeling 20-something. By the time I hike to the foot of the bed, I’m in my 60s. I take naps, though partly because television is boringly distracting – too boring to keep me awake on the couch, and too distracting to keep my mind on a book.
Most of my parts still work pretty well, with a couple of notable exceptions. I’m holding out until we are can order parts from Amazon and have a neighbor install them while we lay out under the maple in the side yard. The mechanic will have a smartphone lying in the grass, YouTube showing the way to successful refurbishment.
I won’t be surprised when that happens, and only a little surprised if I’m here to see it. My life, so far, has been marked by tons of miracle technologies. I was 12 when we got our first television, 30 when personal computers took center stage. Then “Star Trek” came out with “communicators” and Motorola hit the markets with a “flip-phone,” and about a week later everyone had a smartphone – on which last night my son’s family and I traded Christmas wishes.
My dad sent me off to the Navy, straight out of high school, with a battery-powered reel-to-reel tape recorder about the size of a Hyundai so I could send voice mail home to Mom. Apparently, I came by my love of technology honestly.
Also my love of antiques that still run. The years behind have been good. I’m just wondering what magic lies ahead. Maybe Amazon will start carrying some of those parts I need replaced. Happy New Year, y’all.