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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Red Rum

I think I may be very close to mudering an elderly person. It won't be my fault: I can claim insanity.

It's probably the most age-ist thing to say, but I'm up to my neck in old people and they are driving me crazy. The grocery store near our home is in the heart of old people land and on any given week day, it is chock full of the elderly. Normally I wouldn't mind so much, but this grocery store is small and rather cramped as it is; there is only room in the aisles for one cart to go in one direction and another cart to come in the other direction; the checkout lines are very narrow and the vegetable section and bakery are both the size of my kitchen. So with barely enough room to sneeze, shoppers have to be very conscience of the other shoppers around them; however, this does not apply to the old people.

They stop in the middle of the aisle (no attempt to pull their cart -- with its single apple and can of grapefruit juice -- over to the side), they literally don't look when coming around a bend, and they but in line ("Do you mind sweetheart? I just have two things."). They bunch up in crowds right outside or right inside the door blocking the carts and making it difficult to maneavor around them. But I guess you earn that right once you have lived long enough and have established your dominance on the earth; plus, you're old and you just don't care what people think of you.

I can make my peace with the behavior at the grocery store. Perhaps I will just begin to drive across town to a larger store; the commute may be worth my sanity. But I can't make peace with some of the old people's behavior at the gym. I swear, some of them act like two year olds.

In spinning class, they crowd against the door and fight with one another over the prime bikes. They choose treadmills right next to you. They always ask for instruction ("How do you start this damn thing?" One old lady asked me. I told her to push "start.") They yell at the front desk people, or they fumble around in their giant sized purses for their ID backing up the incoming traffic. And this monring was the last straw. I was do strength training on a machine and this woman was hovering around me. I do three sets, and while I was resting between sets 2 and 3, she walked up to me and asked, "How much longer are you going to hog this machine?"

I nearly imploded.

There are rows of machines; in fact, rows of some of the exact same machines. She could have used any one of the machines identical to the one I was using, yet she was harassing me to use the one I had been on for about five minutes (I guess when you're old time is valuable, so it might have appeared that I was on it for a long time). I told her it would be just another minute. She looked hauty, but didn't say anything else.

I only had one cheek off the seat before she was squeezing herself in there. I don't know if she thought one of the other patrons was going to steal her machine, but she was on it like bread on butter. I've never had anyone be so rude at the gym before, and I had half a mind to smack her with my towel, but I suppose I had to be the adult in the situation.

Part of me knows that I should just be patient and that I should treat the elderly with respect and care because one day I too will be old. I suppose it's just a matter of about sixty years before I can stop up traffic in the grocery store and demand my time on an exercise machine. Maybe that's how I'll behave as well once my relatives have abandoned me to the sweltering heat of South Florida and my one kidney is failing.

Perhaps I should just wait my turn to be an old bee-atch.

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