I don’t know if I should tell this story. Perhaps I haven’t been behind this desk long enough to admit weaknesses and foibles. But, what the heck, a reporter’s job is to reflect his world, even when it’s himself he’s looking at in the mirror. So here goes.
The other day my wife, Diana, noticed I’d forgotten my mobile on a chair, and knowing how vital it is for me to be connected at all times to all sorts, she thought she should let me know. So she phoned me…
On my mobile.
When it started ringing on the chair, she instantly realized the error of her ways, and hung up without leaving a message. It’s a testament to the enduring strength of our relationship that she told me about this little miscue, and we had a good laugh over our evening wine and beer.
We all forget things; all suffer mental lapses that make us do things we blush about. No big deal.
So next day, when she realized I’d forgotten my phone again, Diana didn’t phone me. Instead she texted. And when the phone cheeped letting her know her text had arrived, but I wasn’t there to receive it, she blushed again, but faithfully told me of this second lapse.
We had another laugh, this time with a rueful note added. We are both of us at an age where forgetfulness can be funny, but only in moderation. There are signs we cannot deny, which tell us we are aging. The best we can do is have a chuckle, then ignore them and carry on.
Even that becomes difficult, though. For instance, I can’t read small print in dim light anymore. I ignored it as best I could, but now ask for the larger print dictionary when I’m being whomped at Scrabble by Fred, my 91 year-old father-in law. As for medicine bottles, who wants to know what the side-effects of their contents might be anyway. I refuse to use a magnifying glass to find out.
Then there’s typing, a matter that strikes close to the core, where writers are concerned. My fingers won’t do what my brain tells them to anymore – at least not as rapidly. I used to be able to type copy faster than my brain could compose it; now I can’t keep up without transposing letters and hitting wrong keys.
As for driving, I have to downshift. Yes, I’m entering the era when I’m going to have all those young-bucks-in-a-hurry steaming while I toddle along at the posted speed limit. Forgive me, but my reflexes aren’t what they used to be; and my ability to compose and comprehend the torrent of sensory data rushing at me through the windshield has slowed to a slugs pace – relatively speaking.
So when I misplaced my mobile for the third time, I was particularly understanding. I was in a hurry to get out of the office – or as hurried as someone who has entered the age of wisdom can be. I had Diana on the line and was talking to her about dinner arrangements as I fumbled about the clutter of my desk looking for the ever elusive cell…
It was only after we’d reached salmon salad on the menu, and determined that I didn’t need to stop and buy anything at the 49th on the way home, that I realized the mobile I was looking for was in my hand, pressed to my ear.
We laughed yet again, when I explained the situation to Diana, and admitted that, as a practical joke, aging has its moments.
Perhaps I need the equivalent of ‘idiot mittens’ for my mobile, some kind of tether that won’t ever let me leave it behind. That won’t get to the root of the problem, though, because – when you get right down to it – it’s not our mobiles we Yuppie seniors are losing, really, is it?