I have the pleasure of living near a place called Leisure Village. Leisure Village is a community of retired people. You have to be pretty old to live there. And your driving skills have to be everything opposite of what the DMV driving test requires. At least…that’s what it appears to be.
Living near this community has been a true test of my patience. Their driving ability, or dis-ability, completely flabbergasts me. How they attain their licenses is beyond my capacity to comprehend. I guess because we are not required in California to take a driving test every few years, to assess our motor skills, allows them to keep their licenses they received when they still HAD motor skills. I’m sure there are many blue hairs out there who got their licenses in their 20’s, and have never had to retake the driving test. This is a tragedy! Every person over the age of 70 should have to retake the driving test, EVERY year, until they no longer can find their car.
Driving around town is a feat in itself. I think they are in a conspiracy to take their cars and emerge all at once onto our streets. If I see a Chrysler Town and Country, I quickly speed ahead to try to pass them. I know, for sure, it’s going to be an elderly person in there. And sure enough, the little old lady is two inches away from the steering wheel. I’m not sure how they breathe when it’s digging into their stomachs, with their little heads poking thru the holes in the wheel. They can’t even see over the dashboard and their feet can’t reach the pedals, but miraculously the car moves. At a snail’s pace, but it moves nevertheless.
If I end up not forging ahead, sitting behind them, I’m done. Forget it. What would take me 5 minutes to reach my destination, will now take me 25 minutes. In a 45 mph zone, we are now going 15, IF we’re lucky. We are not talking like we are in the Indy 500 here. I’m not asking them to drag race. It’s a Chevy Impala. C’mon grandma…speed it up to 30!
Just accelerating when the light turns green is another 3 minutes. Gertie is sitting there waiting…“Oh…the light turned green? Let me think about pressing my foot down on the gas pedal. There we go…I think I’m moving? Ah…yes…I am. Oops…maybe a little too fast. Let me let up a little. Much better. Oh wait…I’m driving??”
The parking lot. I don’t speed in parking lots because you never know who is walking where, who’s pulling out of a space, blah, blah, blah. But please…I may as well get out and PUSH my car at the rate I’m going. I’d probably get there faster. So they drive 20 mph on the street, and ONE mph in the lot. Really? zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Wake me up when you’re in the space, gramps. You would think they would want to speed up to 10 mph to make it in time for the early bird special.
And in the supermarket…they push their carts the same way. And for some reason I always get stuck behind them…in the skinniest aisles so that I can’t pass them. And try doing a 180 in a food aisle. Not easy. And behind them at the checkout counter. Wow! They take their groceries out one… by one… by one… by one. I’m trying to make eye contact with the bagger, practically jerking my head off my neck, motioning him to help Mildred unload the cart.
Then we get to the coupons. They carry around their little “coupon purse” and wait to find the coupons once the cashier is done. Can’t they start just a little sooner so that we are not waiting there an extra 20 minutes while they sort through their 8000 coupons, only to find out most of them are expired? Then they write a check. I don’t know if they have heard of ATM’s yet, although the elderly do hang out in the banks because they serve free coffee and cookies, so you would think they would have inquired about those machines attached to the walls outside. But they don’t really like change. And they don’t really understand the new technology…so they still write checks. Which takes them just a little longer than the average person. So we have now tacked on an extra 7 minutes. What should have taken 15 minutes, has turned into a two hour excursion.
In all honesty, I love being around the elderly and do everything I can to help them when possible. We are all going to be there one day and should treat others as we would want others to treat us.
And I have to say, the great thing about living here? I’m considered the youngster! How’s that for irony!