Oh my God! That’s me! The elderly! I dislike that word immensely but even more than normal when you put together COVID 19 and the elderly.
That makes me part of the high-risk group living with a bunch of other high-risk individuals.
Luckily I live in an active seniors building managed by a very concerned and responsible company that took steps from the beginning to manage what they could of the problem.
We shut down all of our activities, reinforced the 6-foot distance and all of our seniors willy nilly are adorned with face masks, some of them fetching and homemade.
We stay in our units although some have taken to walking the halls at 2 and 3 in the morning. Some do manage to socialize by sitting in the courtyard a suitable distance apart talking with their masks on.
The paramedics show up on a regular basis but this is business as usual since some of us are closer to ninety than the minimum age of fifty-five and when you get to that age, shit happens and thank God for the handsome hero paramedics that make the ladies hearts beat faster.
But COVID 19 and the elderly have not become the end-all of everything here. Life goes on for us all. We struggle to get our groceries delivered or help out neighbors who don’t have cars or a smartphone with getting their supplies in. We smile behind our masks as we pass each other in the hall and do whatever it takes to stay healthy and sane just like everyone else these days,
I personally have never cooked so much in my life to the point that I had to call an abrupt halt this week because I was out of containers and space in the refrigerator. Luckily, I have lots of people I can pass meals on to.
I have also discovered the wonders of audiobooks. I need to get new glasses so I can’t spend as much time reading as my current time schedule permits (about 20 hours of every day!). Instead, I now have an amazing collection of audiobooks. I recently listened to an old favorite by Mary Stewart called The Moon Spinners. It is set in Crete and as I listened from my chair I felt like I was walking the hills of Crete with the heroine. It was a wonderful listen!
I am very lucky to have windows that face the front of our building which is across the street from a very nice park. I can sit at my table and watch families bring their kids out for some exercise and fresh air and watch as my more active neighbors walk around the park. It is a beautiful view and one I am very thankful to have.
I wonder in these days of COVID 19 and the elderly how much longer this calm in the middle of the storm will last. When will the day come that I and others in my building are really safe to go outside without a mask? When will we feel safe enough to do so?
I find myself puzzling over the fact that calm reigns so strongly in my little apartment when the world outside seems to be exploding with things that are surreal and remote from where I sit watching the world go by.
This week the country exploded into riots and violence over the death of George Floyd whose name is now famous for racial injustice. One hopes that his death will inspire real change but at the moment it instead inspires a deep pain and anger in the black community that I as an elderly white woman can only barely comprehend and feel no real right to comment on.
At the same time, SpaceX has launched 2 NASA astronauts to dock with the international space station, which marks the first time humans ever traveled to orbit in a spacecraft launched by a private corporation.
These two events echo strangely in my elderly brain because I remember as a child watching the 60’s race riots and the 60’s NASA space launches on a small black and white TV and being frightened by both. Isn’t it both strange and ironic that I would be watching these same things happening again some sixty years later?