Most of the time I forget I’m almost finished with my 5th decade of life. I think I’m maybe thirty-something. Forty-five at the most. Then along comes some episode and I realize how old I really am, and particularly how much older than most of the people I work with, play music with, hang out with, go to dog events with.
So let me share with you a couple of stories that made me realize I’m no spring chicken anymore. These are just little stories, nothing major, no epic drama.
It’s cold here in Michigan. Sometimes it’s really cold. We had a couple of weeks earlier this month when the wind was howling and the temps were in single digits. When the walk from office to the car in the evenings was excruciating. I happen to sit by a window up on the fourth floor, looking out over the parking lot and most of the winter people stop by to use my window and their remote starts to get their cars warmed up before they head out into the storm. For most of this winter, and last winter too for that matter, it never occurred to me that my key fob also had a remote start. That I too could have a warm car with ice melting on the windshield by the time I stumbled through the dark and wind to my vehicle.
Last week I paid attention, wrote myself a note which I placed near my keys (“start car”) and actually remembered to use the remote start thingy before getting dressed in hat, coat, scarf, boots, and gloves to head for home. I couldn’t actually see my entire car from my office window, it was parked behind a big van, but I could see the front lights, and they blinked so I figured I was good to go.
Just before I headed for the stairs, now dressed like an Eskimo, I happened to glance outside. Looking at my car I became confused. What was that at the back? Why…it’s the hatch, fully open! And why weren’t the lights still on? And no exhaust coming out of the back? Surely I hadn’t….why yes I had. Instead of pushing the start engine button on my key fob I had pushed the open hatch button. Because they look so much alike, don’t you know.
So not only was my car not warm…it was colder than it had been before. I quietly pushed the ‘open hatch’ button again, watched as it closed and then meekly crept down the 4 flights of stairs and out to my car where I shivered as I drove home. I didn’t tell anyone for a long time. Now I’m sharing with you.
Some of you know I’m the librarian for the community band that I’m in. That means that the beginning of most rehearsals is hectic for me as people that have missed previous practices need music. I’m always running around looking for music and making copies. Often they start rehearsing while I’m still off doing something else.
So this week was no exception. I’d put my clarinet together and started to warm up when someone needed something, and then someone else needed something. Before long I’m running around and they’re playing already. Finished with my tasks I rush to sit down in my seat, sharing a stand with the highschool girl next to me who I already know thinks I’m about 95 years old. She looks at me out of the corner of her eye and keeps playing. I suddenly realize I am not carrying my clarinet and I don’t know where I set it down. I scan the room, locate it on a table, go get it and sit back down again, reaching for the top of my head where I keep my glasses when I’m not reading.
They aren’t there.
I don’t remember taking them off while I was running copies, but they could be anywhere. Or maybe I never had them, they could be in the car. I know I can’t read the music without them, but I figure I’ll do the best I can. I push my chair back a bit to be further from the music stand and think “I can see pretty good tonight, maybe I don’t need those glasses anyway,” and I start to play.
The teenager next to me is still watching me out of the corner of her eye.
Sometime in the first piece of music my ear itches and I reach up to scratch it and realize that I’m wearing my glasses. And obviously have been. Which is why my eyes were seeing pretty good. I’ve heard stories about people losing their glasses while they were on top of their heads. But I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of anyone losing their glasses while they were wearing them.
And now you have.