“What’s That Again?” 

"Your eyes are fine.  I'ts just that on some eye charts they type is too small."  The nearly blind leading the nearly blind.I just read that when people are approaching 60 they can literally see only half of what they could see at 30. 

Now while I mind this, I’ll also admit that there are lots of things I’d just as soon NOT see – like the little white bunny-tail of toothpaste you sometimes find on your cheek or,  God forbid, in your hair, even hours after you brushed the old chompers.

This second thing has been known to happen to me. Before I bring out the bristling arsenal of smoothing tools every morning, my hair is so wild with waves and tendrils that all kinds of things get stuck in it. “The net,” my guy David calls it. 

Of course HIS eyesight isn’t that great anymore either you should see the two of us squinting at the remote in our effort to watch TV of an evening – but this is why God gives us children, so that, when they get older, they can come by the house and clean us up a little.

Just recently I met up with one of my grown children after not having seen her for some weeks. She leaned in toward me for the hug, or so I thought – until she spoke:  

“Hi Mum, you look great – and you only have this ONE little whisker!” she cried cheerily and began applying a sharp pincer-like movement to the underside of my jaw.


But a thing equally bad is the inability to see with the old acuity is the inability to hear the way you could once hear: When you get older, you hear so much less. It’s a shock really. I mean here you’ve been, going on for years easily following two or even three conversations besides the one you are in. 

This ability to hear all around you is what’s behind that thing you see when people stick one foot out to the side and then sort of surreptitiously s-l-i-i-i-de from one conversational group to another.  What has happened is that they have detected greener conversational pastures beside or behind them and are basically voting with their feet.

Once your hearing starts to go there’s no more pulling off this strategic side-step into better conversations. By then you’re glad if you can hear what the one person directly opposite you is saying.

Of course actual deaf and hard of hearing people do just fine. On its website, renowned Gallaudet University describes itself as “a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals through American Sign Language and English.”

American Sign Language: a language that allows the deaf and hard of hearing to function every bit as well as, and perhaps possibly better than, the rest of us. American Sign Language: yet another language most of us Americans do not study and do not know.

I certainly don’t know American Sign Language so what I find myself doing is telling people to take their hands away from their mouths so I can read their lips, or asking them to  SAY THAT AGAIN PLEASE.


I hate having to do this. I’m afraid I come off sounding grouchy and that’s the last thing I want to be doing as I get older.

Still, I know it’s just pride that makes me feel this way and what do I need with pride at this stage of my life? “Just go with it T,” I tell myself. “Just accept it”

But anyway, tell ya what: it turns out toothpaste in the hair makes a pretty good styling gel.


5 thoughts on ““What’s That Again?” 

  1. I’m going to try it — toothpaste, the new styling gel.

    Another thing about aging is the disconnect between what is said and what is understood. One woman in my Tuesday coffee group said she no longer looked up to her old idols. She discovered they had feet of clay. I said that is probably why my feet are so cold. The person next to me said her feet were cold too. From then on, we discussed cold feet, cold hands, and cold cream. I kind of wondered what scandalous things those old idols with clay feet had done to disappoint the lady.

  2. Well Terry, I identify with your post just a little too much as I ease into the last full week of being 58, a thought that makes me shudder visibly. I used to crow about my age as I never thought I looked it, in fact my mom would say to me “why do you go around telling people your age – a lady doesn’t tell her age!” … so I stopped doing that, coincidentally right around the time I quit plucking those curly gray tendrils that keep growing at my temples.

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