This column is a compilation of thoughts from some of the “Sally” and “Sam” seniors around town.
You are 75 or thereabouts – old enough that until two months ago, you’d guessed you’d seen most of what the world was coming to. Then along comes a global pandemic, throwing all your assumptions – and life as you knew it – right out the window.
So now, after this seismic realignment, here’s some of the good, the bad, and the ugly of what you’ve discovered.
You are experiencing SIP fatigue. You are tired from doing nothing. You never thought of yourself as old until you were categorized as “at risk” because of your age. You are having trouble contending with hearing aids and bifocals when wearing a mask. You never thought it was much fun to go to the grocery store, but you hate that someone has to do it for you. Now you crave the experience. You want to get your hair cut; you want to go to a restaurant; you want to hug your grandchildren. You agonize for your family as they try to balance working at home and helping their kids with computer learning. You are really sick of watching jerks demonstrating against the beach closures. “They have no God given constitutional right to give me/us a deadly disease so they can play in the sand,” one of your peers says.
At this three quarter of a century age mark, you have discovered that you love chocolate candy, that chicken pot pies are delicious, and that wine, martinis and Canadian Club have a definite use during SIP.
Video phone calls with family, the opening of parks and golf courses, learning how to barbecue again, playing bridge online with friends, doing crossword puzzles and teaching a cat how to shake hands are things that have kept you more or less sane.
You have participated in celebrations of a new and different kind: drive-by car parades, socially-distanced award presentations, and birthday parties that consist of waving from across the street.
About Your Community
You are proud of the City of Piedmont for the way it has handled the crisis. They were correct in cancelling the Fourth of July Parade, yet another on the list of disappointments caused by this virus. You think they are being very judicious in the way they are slowly opening up the parks.
About the Broader Community
You believe the Governor of the State of California has shown tremendous leadership under the most difficult of circumstances. You wish that some counties could see the state as a whole and be concerned with the health and wellbeing of all citizens regardless of “their” county.
You find that your friends — regardless of which side of the aisle they’re on – feel utter disappointment in our national leadership and distrust in the President of the United States. You would never have expected to witness such a lack of ability to lead let alone listen to the scientists who have studied these public health/virus issues.
About the Future
Buckle up, buttercup, but not because you plan to travel anywhere. Travel is a very iffy proposition now, and you are not looking forward to sitting in a metal container with recycled air and a stranger at your elbow. Because if we’ve learned one thing about this virus is that it LOVES travel, and you would prefer not to hitch your wagon to that giddyup.
Yes, for the foreseeable future, you’re thinking that travel will now be limited to the safety of your home and neighborhood, where you manage your virtual bridge games and zoom gatherings, teach your cat to shake hands, and stroll through the actual neighborhood and greet actual neighbors. Yes, they may be gritting their teeth behind their masks, because, well — the pandemic. But you hope they’re smiling too. Happy to see you. And you them.
Sally Senior is a longtime Piedmont resident and also answers to the name of Fran Wolfe