Thursday, March 1, 2012

What Does 63 Mean, Anyway?

Not much, I've concluded. It's an awkward age, not yet eligible for Medicare or reduced rates on the local bus, but indubitably approaching the downward slope. Since "those not busy being born are busy dying," that really doesn't concern me a whole lot.

I have friends in their 70s who travel and write and are opinionated, funny people, as well as friends much younger than I who fall under that same description. Weight and age are both only a number, unless health enters the equation. I don't think about either one very much.

Until yesterday.

I live in a building that's only a little younger than the city of Seattle itself--past the century mark and still solid brick. Four years ago I lived here in a tiny room with a view and a Pullman kitchen, with a bathtub that was all mine--a view of the water and my own bathroom, bliss. This time around I have a much larger room with windows facing east and west, cross-ventilation, and my own bathroom--also bliss although I do miss that bathtub.

Within a month of my arrival, I also had insect bites, which after much denial (also mine), turned out to be bed bugs. Three fumigation visits later, they seem to have gone, but so was the honeymoon period for my apartment--I live in fear that they left a nest behind them and the whole cycle will begin all over again.

A block away from me is a senior citizen apartment building, brand-spanking-new and offering tours for prospective residents. I toured yesterday.

The apartment I saw was made up of three squares, one for a kitchen/living area, one for a bedroom, one for a bathroom large enough to accommodate a wheelchair. The windows were large, the place was light--it was fine, just fine.

Then I saw the rest of the place--the small "movie theater", the "library" which posted a stunning collection of Danielle Steele paperbacks, the "fitness center" which was a small room crowded with equipment, the "recreation room" with board games and poker table, the rooftop terrace, which was the only part that didn't set every tooth I have on edge. They have "chair aerobic" sessions, doughnut mornings, nutritional counseling.

"Can you manage the stairs?" my guide asked me solicitously, as she told me of all the wonderful social activities I could take part in once I signed a year's lease, and once "corporate' examined every aspect of my meager finances. I began to hyperventilate.

As lovely and clean as that place is, I felt as though I had visited a nursing home. I'm not ready for that and I may never be ready. When it comes down to a choice between vermin and doughnut mornings...well, make a wild guess as to which one I'd suffer through.

Somewhere is my next home in Seattle but it won't include chair aerobics.

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