Three Blind MiceOctober 26, 2010 at 9:02 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | Leave a comment
Tags: 2010s, aging, pizzarama
I’d hate to think it was just me, and luckily, it’s not.
A week or so ago, Don came up to me. “Can you do me a favor? Can you tell me where this is?”
He needed my help finding something on the map? But he’s been here longer than me. Obviously, he recognized the skills that I–
Looking at the map, he continued, “I left my damn glasses at home, and I can’t see if that’s the street I need.”
Oh. Okay, then. I get closer to the map, peer in, then drop my glasses because these damn no-line bifocals are only good for telling me that I can’t see something. Close in, the map is a rendered in beautiful detail. From a distance of three feet, it might as well be a plate of spaghetti.
I confirmed for him that it was indeed the street he wanted.
It’s a Monday night, so it’s a little slow and it’s a bit quiet, the way us older folk like it. Not as many people here, and the ones that are working are more subdued, more low-key. Courtney, for one–Courtney is not here. She’s a loud, brash, energetic, peppy, perky 17-year old. We don’t need that. Not on a Monday.
I grab my run and amble to the van. The van is easier to get in and out of than the car was–no bending down, no climbing out. I just grunt and slide right over. Nice. In the dark, clear evening, against the backdrop of glare from porch lights, streetlights, and passing cars, I can’t make out a street sign to save my life, much less a number on the house. Well, I know I’m close. That sign–I can’t read it, but it doesn’t look long enough to be “Reddington.” Keep going.
I should have used my old trick that I use to make sure I can find a street that is directly off of a busy drag–counting. If I expect traffic to be heavy and I don’t want to slow down every ten feet and try to read a sign, I just count on the map: “Elm is one, two, three, four streets past this light at Hurst. Four. If I get to William I went too far.” But this was the middle of a subdivision; normally it’s not a problem.
The next street up could be the street I need. The stop sign is obscured by a tree–on purpose, I’m sure–and when I pull around to see the side of it I need, I find it glowing with the light of the streetlight making a perfect back light.
So of course I can’t read it. As I sit awkwardly in the middle of an intersection in this subdivision, a car cruises past me. They slow down to see me squinting and looking up at a tree, from their perspective. I can’t read the sign, but I think I see an “R.” And the sign is long enough that it’s either Reddington or Remington. Either way, I’m close.
I roll down the street and catch sight of a house number. Or part of one. I see a “53” and then a line. Probably a 537. Okay, good, I’m close, because what I’m looking for is 3556, and that was probably 3537. Down about four or five houses on the other side. Of course, that house has no light and no number that I can see. But the house just past it I catch sight of a six and something that could be zero–either an O or a zero or possibly the letter Q, or even the Greek letter theta would be close at this point.
Confidently, I walk to the door.
And I walk away with a five dollar tip. I’ve heard that when one of your senses is diminished, the others improve. We already know that I’m going deaf. I can’t hear about 80% of anything–and the rest I just ignore. Since I’ve become a smoker, I feel like my sense of taste and smell are covered in a fine gray soot. And now the eyes–
The eyes have always been bad. I’ve been near-sighted since puberty. Growing older has actually helped, because you become far-sighted. These two-counter-acting energies have balanced each other out, and my eyes have stopped getting worse. I think. Well, there’s no change in acuity, but I can’t focus like I used to. The ol’ eyeballs used to be able to change and change back, focus and refocus again, instantly, in split second, adjusting it’s size to the needed task and then snapping back quickly, like a sorority girl’s vagina.
Now my eyes are more like an old woman’s vagina. They’re dry all the time, for one thing. And there is no “snapping back” quickly. Imagine rubber band that’s not a rubber band any more. It’s just a string. Tied in a knot. Bottom line: whether it’s an old woman’s vagina or my eyes, you can’t see shit with either one.
So what sense have I gained, then? I feel an increase in my sense of irony, ironically. But what gets me by when my other senses have failed me is my sense of direction (it’s a real sense) and my audacity. And my instincts. I don’t have any other explanation for it, but man, can I ever find my way around like a Jedi. And I might as well be driving around with one of the helmets on like Luke did.
Back at the store, my eyes adjust to the harsh indirect fluorescent light. I have trouble seeing my way around, but I can feel, and I can smell. I smell…
I smell pizza.
Okay, it’s not that bad, really. But this is the part of growing old that bugs me. I don’t like to have to–I don’t want to just accept it. I don’t want to acquiesce, dammit. I’m 45 years old, and I still feel–up here, in my head–like a kid. How can my body be getting old when my brain is still teenager?
I was distracted from my temporary dementia by The Dude. “Hey, man, can you show me where this street is? I’ve been there before but I keep forgetting…”