It happened so quickly. Time and reality finally catching up, having stalked me for so long as my game of denial went into overtime. When it happened, it was swift. The game I created? Ignore Reality. I justified it for a long time (years?); I felt young, therefore I was. Has a nice ring to it. Even though I had given up daily outdoor cycling a couple of years ago, I was still in pretty good shape for … well, an Old Guy. Could still put on the miles at the Y. But, when IT happened, I was, ironically, out walking along the waterfront like a young lad, admiring the geese and ducks, the quiet civility of Cobourg on a Sunday afternoon … (there’s a song in there somewhere). I’m still not sure what exactly occurred as my legs started to fail me with an audible click!, causing me to swiftly seek the sanctuary of the closest seat before I fell. And so began the next stage of my life.
Yes, I sought medical help, went through all the checks and balances … which brought me to the next reality of my life up to that point; having to acknowledge, like it or not, I was Old. The second reality? I would have to start using a cane when out walking, creating a Eureka moment – my wife producing the perfect answer, held over from dog-walking days; adjustable, easy to grip, coloured in soft, pastel shades. The Old Man And A Cane in me quickly accepted another reality; I would also have to use the cane around the apartment. Off to 66 King for our morning coffee? Surely, with a little practice, a nonchalant stance would emerge; a debonair man-of-the-world swinging an elegant ….. Nada! There is nothing elegant struggling to get out of a car, straightening up, cautiously starting to walk, trying not to fall down as one shuffles in uncertain optimism that all will be well.
And so it came to pass that a Big Decision had to be made – at the same time as a huge emotional adjustment was called for. I finally had to acknowledge I really had reached that stage in life. No escaping it. It would be there for all to see. Decision time! I needed to get a walker! You know, (whispering) what old people use. I mean Me! Who over a lifetime has tested his physique in so many ways; carrying heavy motion picture cameras, contorting my body to get that different shot. Lugging that same equipment up the heights and through the 7,000 foot thin air of Chile’s Altiplano; slugging and pitching bales of hay, carrying new-born calves and foals … and here I was facing the reality of being …. Old! ‘Enough!’ I heard a voice say. ‘Time to Man up!’ With which I headed to Medigas in Cobourg to purchase a Walker. Seven minutes and a done deal. Just like that. Wasn’t like buying my first car, but there we were. Reality had bitten.
Yes, it’s a new Me sashaying along Cobourg’s King Street, revisiting speed and dexterity from earlier years, meeting friends ….. who had never mentioned they used a Walker – each ignoring the behemoths blocking the sidewalk as we passed the time of day. Or zipping around No Frills like Stirling Moss … er, who? Well … like a race car driver, skillfully negotiating the aisles. And a new discovery! Arriving home, flipping open the Walker with already practised ease, loading the bags of shopping into it and swiftly wheeling everything indoors. Clickity-boo. The thing is, I’ve never really thought about getting old. It was always something that happened to other people. You know, old people.
Now, I think, the time has come to acknowledge my age is *#*#*#@*
(due to unforeseen technical difficulties the rest of this column was lost)