Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Glimpsing the future?

It was time to get my toenails fixed and pretty again.

Sitting in the chair next to mine, I saw a sweet-looking woman, perhaps in her early eighties. She seemed a bit agitated, but she was calmed by two women, obviously her daughters, who took turns in the little cubicle, chatting with her and reassuring her it wouldn't be much longer.

I learned from their conversation she'd already had her hair done, was undergoing the pedicure and then still had a manicure ahead. Daunting for anyone, let alone an elderly woman. Each process takes at least thirty minutes or more... a long day in the salon. Occasionally, she would remark about some aspect of her experience, usually saying she wanted to go home.

It didn't take much to figure out she was confused... perhaps in some stage of dementia. But after a few minutes, it wasn't she I was watching. I was paying close attention to her daughters. Two women, probably with busy lives, children, households to manage, problems of their own to solve, were taking turns with the loving care of their mother.

I saw my girls in those women. Although I am but 71 and still of reasonably sound mind and body, Father Time keeps on pushing me toward advanced age. And in those years ahead, I have no idea what life will be like. Will I be able to drive myself to the salon for an occasional haircut, manicure or pedicure? I certainly see myself in the car, doing exactly that.

Or will my daughters, both busy, competent women, have to abandon their daily responsibilities to see that I am driven to the salon for those services? Will they need to stand by my chair, touch my hand every now and then to reassure me they are there and then step aside to let the other sibling have a go at keeping me calm?

I didn't enjoy my usually relaxing pedicure that day. I had seen a glimpse of my own possible future as I sat there, close enough to touch the lady in the next chair, unable to avoid hearing the comments she made and the comforting responses from her children.

How I hope I will not be she one day.

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