Surreal bookends

Within a one-month period, I was both carded to prove of age to sit at a restaurant bar and charged the senior citizen rate, unsolicited, for a haircut. At 57, the irony had me rolling in laughter for days.

After a bit of reflection, I realized that this sort of thing shouldn’t really surprise me, given the dramatic changes in physical state that are a hallmark of Parkinson’s disease. All the same, to have these two societal bookends of responsible adulthood illustrated in such a short space of time was surreal.

When I’m “off” and fighting a sleep attack, my face goes slack, eyes dull, with all movement grinding forward painfully slow. And then, thirty minutes later, I might be racing the lawn mower around the yard while laughing loudly at the memory of a particular juvenile prank from decades earlier, my face bearing the toothy grin of a five-year-old child.

And I’m pretty damned pleased that they are both the confused, the hell with society, genuine me. I’m into my 15thyear since Parkinson’s diagnosis, and I honestly like who I am.

I suppose this is why I collect AARP cards (If you refuse to join, they just keep on sending ‘em). I don’t appreciate labels, especially in a culture that minimizes our humanness to the inner bracket of two arbitrary numbers, absent curiosity or insight.

My stack of un-activated AARP cards represents the silly labels we all use. Society pressures us to conform to a “proper” life, and then, at 65, we are expected to be a good little dodder and die quietly out of sight.

Never fond of moderation, if one AARP card hanging on the wall is good, then—well, you get the picture.

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