Tag Archives: Age

Help – It’s Loaded!

Or should I say “fully loaded”? You guessed it! I bought a new vehicle last week. My more than a decade old, completely basic SUV was getting too noisy and unreliable. I’ve spent too much time and money in the garage lately so I decided it was time to take the plunge into 2013.

And I’d do it in style. The older you get the more help you need, right? And there’s always an app for that…

Since I’ve finally started to go to the gym, I thought I wouldn’t need the additional exercise of manually stowing the third row seats, or adjusting the seat every time I’m sitting down to drive. So encouraged by a cheerful lady from my art society, who had just told me she bought a fully loaded SUV last month for her 93rd birthday – no kidding, and had only been back to the dealership twice to learn to operate the touch screen computer, I decided to go for the Limited too. I deserved it. But more importantly, the Limited Edition would give me unlimited help. That’s a bit of an oxymoron, I know, but that’s how it seems to be.

I browsed on the internet and found a dealership that had several Limiteds in stock. The internet manager responded within an hour and his email had a picture of him in the left upper corner. He looked reliable, like a grandpa, probably a bit older than me, with a dash of white hair. We made an appointment for the next day.

I was right. He had two grandkids, 6 and 3 years old. And he could operate the hundreds of different features with ease. He navigated the screens from entertainment to navigation to climate to phone without a hitch! He fluently demonstrated the many steering wheel controls, the sunroof, the seats, the pedals and you name it. That gave me confidence: I would be able to handle them too, like my 93 years old friend.

Then we took a ride. Just pressed the button and off we went. So smooth. Easy steering. I even overtook a bus to test the torque, it was definitely there! And back we came to the dealership. I backed into a narrow spot – with the help of the rear view camera. It started peeping when I came close to a little tree in the corner – oh my. I am lousy in parking so all assistance I could get would be welcome – and probably save the new ride from premature wrinkles. So far so good.

Then the friendly grandpa paired my cell phone and uploaded my huge phonebook. We could always remove it if I didn’t buy the vehicle, he assured me.  So now I was ready to practice the voice commands. I asked the car to call my husband.

touch screen

You need to know that he doesn’t have an English sounding name, and that I didn’t make an effort to pronounce it in English. But the car’s phone was obedient, I could hear it ringing. I expected to hear “Start me up”, my hubby’s signature call back tone. But there was no music. Instead someone answered in Swedish, in Sweden! I was lucky it wasn’t 2 a.m. there yet, we are still on good terms. But I concluded that I’d need a bit of practice to get friendly with the invisible phone operator. Need to teach him (I’m sure it’s an him) my accent perfected by living all over the place, just like I’ve done with Siri. We are friends now, at least most of the time.

Later that afternoon, the Limited came home with me. Since then I’ve taken a few short trips enjoying the smooth ride and my classic rock station. But I’ve also been sitting in the driver’s seat customizing the limited’s unlimited help. I’ve had ample support from Bumble, my poodle, who really likes the new ride and doesn’t complain even if we never get out of the garage. We just enjoy sitting in there pressing arrows, OKs, and making the touch screen full of finger prints, his and mine.

We are determined to master the computer, show him who’s the boss, without going to the free class offered by the dealership on Saturday. Wish us good luck, if you may.

3-inches of Humor

Turning the page, no longer same age,

but in the mirror still the same face.

But what does it mean? No longer a teen,

only a year-in-the-middle it’s been!

Senior ticket? How do they dare?

Not old enough for seniors’ care!

Have to do something, maybe a lift?

Push some weights, move more swift?

Nevertheless, I will enjoy the day,

gratefully, in my own special way.

Pencil skirt and three-inch heels? 

Fruity drink but fancy with peels?

Signing off now, see you all later!

Hey, here comes my waiter!

Can I See Your ID, Please?

One good thing about having a “few years on my neck” is that I’ve had the time, and the privilege I might add, to gather lots of experiences. Most of them useful, many of them beautiful, some really lovely and of course some that are sad or even truly ugly. It’s a balanced bag. But the good thing is that my memory is highly selective. It pushes the ugly things deep down and constantly brings up the good and the funny. And I am happy to collaborate. We make a good team.

I almost never think about my age, it’s just a number in my passport and driver’s licence, but today is my hubby’s birthday so I came to reflect on it this  morning. It’s funny how many people seem to be focused on their age, and often not quite comfortable with where they happen to be in life. Too young for that or too old for this.  Much of this (apart from some legal restrictions thought to be generally good for us) is based on some age-old stereotyping of how we should and should not be, behave or look at a certain age. And it’s always nice when some brave souls break that mold, kind of forget about their age and follow their heart’s desires. Refreshing.

Last week I met an adventure traveller of the shy age of 87. She was going places, had just completed a trip to the Mayan ruins in Guatemala and was planning more trips for later this year. She said she was now considering slowing down a little bit…maybe just go on a cruise to Alaska next year, to see the whales. She radiated inner beauty and vitality I’ve seldom seen.  I noticed she laughed and smiled a lot in the course of our brief conversation. When I asked her what kept her so youthful, she said that she really didn’t have a secret. But if anything, she had always tried to keep positive. Like when someone asked her how she was doing, she would always respond “I’m doing fine”. And she always meant that, even when she actually might not feel that great at that moment. She explained to me that when she thankfully expressed that she was fine, as if the feeling fine was already there, it always became her truth. She really felt fine after a while. I found that fascinating.

I’m quite curious by nature and often browse the latest research findings in many different areas of science. One day last year, I came across a series of interesting studies on how our outlook on life influenced our health and well-being. The results were very supportive of the fact that the more positive our outlook, the better our health was, including our ability to fight some serious illnesses. But the fact that really caught my attention was a test where people were made to smile or frown while their vitals and emotions were measured and recorded. One group was asked to hold a pencil between their front teeth to mimic a smile, another group was instructed to hold a pencil between their lips to imitate a frown. The first group’s physical and emotional reactions witnessed of increased well-being, while the second group’s experience was the opposite. I thought it was quite remarkable. And it’s safe to try at home, so go ahead!

Recently, while going to buy adult beverages for a party we were having, I got a good laugh when the young associate asked to see my ID. I could have been his mother. I asked him whether they had begun to enforce an upper age limit for such purchases. We live in Florida, you see. He just smiled and said I got it all wrong, he needed to see whether or not I was 21. What a nice guy. We both had a good laugh when I said I’d forgotten my ID, but wanted to make the purchase anyway. I drove away happy, blasting my music and smiling.

So Happy Birthday to all the Leos in August. Stay young at heart and smile, please.