It gradually has dawned on me that I am getting slow and snail-like in my movements. I used to be able to run up and down the stairs. I used to be able to hop into and out of a car or a bath tub. I used to be able to run, period Not only could I run up and down the stairs, but I could do it without holding on to a banister rail, and with a bag or two of groceries in my arms.
It is strange how this seeming decrepitude has come about. My sister and I were comparing notes on this phenomenon the other day. It is her belief that this happens automatically when you reach the age of 85, which I am and which she was a year and a half ago. Eighty-four and you’re still hopping in and out of the car. Eighty-five and – BAM!- you’re struggling like a turtle on its back, dropping your packages, purse, scarf, or gloves, just trying to get out of the damn car.
We also talked about getting around the house without crashing to the floor. She said that she has perfected the shuffle. I, on the other hand pick my feet up, looking like someone trying to avoid treading on doggy doo. Either way, one’s progress from room to room is appreciatively slower than in pre-85 days.
Then there’s getting out of a chair. If you remember the Carol Burnell show and the skit in which she and Harvey Korman played a coupe of geezers trying to rise from their respective rocking chairs, you’ll get some idea of what I look like when the phone rings. My sister has the same problem. Even though we both exercise, the problem seems to be the quad muscles. For some reason they seem to have given up their reason for being and do not provide the wherewithal for unassisted rising. This failing is the why chairs with arms were invented.
We also found out that we are both reluctant to attempt ascending, but especially descending steps without railings. I was watching some TV show involving some immense concrete steps, like a courthouse, or some such building. People were merrily going up and down with NO RAILINGS! How could they do that??? She said that if she were at the top of such steps, she would just have to stay there until she died. Exactly! I would never be able to go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the place where Rocky ran up and down – probably to strengthen his quads and all. I get the fantods just thinking about it.
So my sister and I will stay on level ground and shuffle and high step very slowly along, only sitting in chairs with arms and trying not to fall out of car doors in slow motion, enjoying life in the snail lane.