Throwing the Elderly Away
The worst part is, she’s old. She doesn’t know any better. My friends are all over 70 and I am half their age. I guess I am more comfortable around mistakes and regrets already made, but they’ll tell you exactly what it feels like to be invisible because we throw old people away.
I stick out like a sore thumb when there are more than three of them in a group with me. Everyone looking at me, older women rolling their eyes, and others wondering which rich guy I’m praying on.
“Only one drink for her,” the manager tells the waiter. “She can’t walk, she must be drunk.” My friend starts to cry. “Now I know I’m right,” he says looking down on her with a smile as tears streamed down her face. No, wait she is disabled! I want to scream after him. She can’t find her footing. She isn’t drunk! She’s just old.
I cried all night.
Maybe because the place was packed and the dishwasher walked out on him. I have to believe that if he knew she wasn’t drunk, that it was actually her body giving up, he wouldn’t have done that, right? He never would have had the guts to say it like that to me.
At least I said something, thank god I said something.
But it didn’t matter, the damage was already done. He already confirmed what she believed about herself. She was getting old and couldn’t stop it.
It’s always subtle but I’ve watched it happen too many times to miss it when it does. I still can’t understand it. We make the same mistakes. Learn the same lessons, and we keep throwing the elderly away.