I tend to think I’m taking middle age pretty well. I do what I can to stay healthy and postpone the inevitable as long as possible. Much as I hate exercise, I drag myself out of bed more days than not, and work up a good sweat in the name of reducing stress and preventing heart disease and osteoporosis. I quit my nightly ice-cream habit several years ago, and take whatever herbal supplements the latest medical studies show will stave off memory loss and keep me performing at optimum capacity.
Still, I’m saving up for retirement, in more ways than one.
Because every once in awhile, I catch a glimpse of how I do not want to end up, and it makes me want to run farther and take more ginkgo.
Awhile back, my daughter and I were waiting at the doctor’s office, both absorbed in our music downloads and reading material. Out of the blue, I heard my daughter – a feline fan – say, “oooh, kitty!”
Sitting on the check-in counter was a beautiful white angora cat, whose owner was proudly stroking it. After a few seconds, I had a bit of a reality check, and wondered, “who brings a pet to the doctor’s office?”
There was a crowd of people gathering to see her pet, when I heard, “meow.”
That, I knew immediately, was not a real cat.
Sure enough, as I looked closer, it was obvious: this was not a real pet, but a battery-operated faux cat.
Aside from the obvious benefits of a robotic cat — no feeding, no cleaning — I refuse to believe it is a legitimate replacement for the real thing.
I heard the woman’s caretaker talking about how she had read studies that prove having a pet slows down the onset of dementia in many older patients.
Honestly, if you are walking around with a fake cat, hasn’t dementia already progressed past the point of no return?
I thought about my elders – grandparents, parents, friends – facing the aging process. Even the sharpest of them reached the point where their human hard drive maxed out, and they had to either remove old data or quit storing new information. For some, it meant they could no longer filter their thoughts into “things I should share publically” and “things I should keep to myself.”
At some point on the timeline, conquering new technology requires finding someone under the age of 25 to adjust all the settings. And darn it, no one dare touch it after that!
With technology changing at its current rate, I have already begun to fall short of setting all my preferences the way I want. I honestly regret making fun of people who couldn’t set the clocks on their VCRs. I wish we still had a VCR, because I can’t even operate our family’s home entertainment system – which used to be a television.
At least I have real pets that don’t need their settings adjusted.
Which is why I’ve started the bribe-my-kids fund.
I plan to give them all money to keep a room for me at their home. There are four of them, so I figure three short months a year, I will be there to annoy and frustrate them. Their job will be to make sure I exercise and take my ginkgo. They’ll also need to adjust settings on my electronics.
And I’m bringing my pets. Live ones.
Mother OVER Board