Senior Cranky Moments is a story contributed by Linda Jenkins, Freelance Writer, from Snohomish County. This was first published in Vibrant Senior Options Resource Guide, Fall 2022
Baby Boomers, the forever young generation, are turning elderly, and it is a constant shock for most of us. I’m now into my seventh decade of life, but feel like my mind is still in the Woodstock era. Remember Woodstock? Joan Baez? Jimi Hendrix?
A friend of mine, in the same age bracket, is moving to Woodstock, Alabama. I have been poking fun at her for moving to Woodstock. Ha, ha, what a name for a town. She is taking it well, but then I realized no one young today remembers the connection to the upper New York festival of hippies and drugs. That was way back in 1969. Probably a good thing, too. Along with some phrases you don’t hear any more like “Far out. Dig it. Keep on truckin’.”
Moments at Hobby Lobby
I was in Hobby Lobby recently and couldn’t find a certain item. I asked a young sales person, “Do you have any tongue depressors?” She stared, then asked me to repeat. I said, “Tongue depressors?” A blank look. I pointed to my tongue. “Tongue . . .depressors.” An older sales person came up beside us and said, “She means craft sticks. They used to call them tongue depressors.”
“Oh, craft sticks! Sure.” With a quizzical expression, the young woman led me to the right aisle, and I followed meekly, reminding myself to update vocabulary from the 1950s. For sure, doctors don’t check people’s mouths with those sticks, anymore.
Moments at Doctor’s Office
I was in for a doctor appointment, as most Baby Boomers now frequent doctors’ offices as often as going to Walmart. One of the receptionists in the waiting room pleasantly said, “Now just sit over there, dear.”
I did, but suddenly felt ancient, thinking I must look old. She called me dear. The other receptionist handed me some forms. “Honey, just fill these out.”
I did, but felt crankiness rising at the word “honey.” I told my husband, Ron, later, and he said, “Some people just say “honey,” you know. I call you ‘sweetie’ all the time, don’t I?”
I said, “I know, but you are my husband. She doesn’t know me from Timbuktu.”
He just snorted. Of course, I have used that phrase about Timbuktu before, and young people look blank. Timbuktu? What’s that?
I was asked at another doctor appointment if I wanted to attempt a 5-minute treadmill test or take a chemical test, instead. The middle-aged doctor said, “I recommend the chemical test because most people your age can’t do the treadmill.”
I took it as a challenge. I had to show this man a thing or two. People my age are not ready for the grave, yet! I told him politely that I rode a bicycle regularly. He did not look impressed. “Are you sure you want to do this, ma’am?”
Fired up, I said “Of course! I can do this!” Following him into a room, I started getting nervous. Maybe I had spoken too hastily. Maybe I would fall off sideways. Maybe I would break my head open or have a heart attack. Well, too late now.
I gingerly got onto the treadmill, and the doctor pressed his hand against my back, I guess to keep me steady. The technician held one of my arms. They looked worried, tense. I grit my teeth and said, “Go!”
The first couple of minutes was OK, but then the incline became steep. I gripped the bars so hard I probably bent them. My mouth dropped open, gasping. I stared hard out the window.
Moment to Not Give Up
The technician announced the seconds. “Seventy-five more seconds! Do you want to stop?” I shook my head, determined to die before giving up. “Ten seconds! Are you OK?” I nodded, grim. Finally, I finished, and in triumph, slowly and carefully got off. The doctor and technician had large smiles. One patted my shoulder. “Good going, ma’am!”
Cloud Nine Moment
I went home on Cloud 9. “Ron!” I said happily, “I did the treadmill! And people our age don’t usually do it! It’s all that bike riding!”
Ron said, “Well, good for you.”
Moment of Report
A few days later, the medical report on my treadmill test appeared in my online chart. It said “Minimum stage two achieved.”
My happiness deflated like a punctured flat tire. “Minimum stage two? That’s all? Good grief, how many stages are there?”
Ron put his arm around me. “Calm down. You passed, didn’t you? You are still my sweetie, you know.”
Linda Jinkens, Writer/Author
Linda Jinkens is a freelance writer who enjoys bicycling, baking, and her five grandchildren. She has been freelancing for the last four years and has been published in many publications. She is also a former high school teacher.