Columns

2009.05.28 One of us is becoming a geezer and it’s not the cautious man

on . Posted in Midnight Musings

By COLLEEN LEDDY

It was close to 5:30 p.m. Friday when I called David at the Observer office to see what he had going on that night. We usually check in with each other on Thursdays and Fridays—the library closes at 5 and the Observer at 5:30 p.m.

Sometimes, it seems like David attends meetings or shoots photos every night of the week. But not that night. He was ready to leave the office and just wanted to watch a movie after eating dinner.

Dinner...it always slows us down and then there are dishes to wash, dishes that we just dirtied, dishes that have piled up...

Suddenly, I remembered Liz had given us an eggplant parmesan and it was still in the freezer. The evening suddenly fell into place. We could pop the eggplant in the oven and go for a walk while it baked.

“Whoever gets home first has to take the eggplant parmesan out of the freezer,” I said, as we were about to hang up.

“Whoever gets home second has to wash dishes,” he said. He quickly followed that with a “Goodbye!” and abruptly hung up.

Even though I knew I’d be the one washing dishes...it always takes me longer to leave the library than it does David to leave the office...I still burst out laughing, imagining him racing out of the office and jumping on his bike to beat me home.

I’m a good seven years younger than David, but I swear I can’t keep up with him...both mentally and physically he is more agile. He’s quick and witty and he seems to walk and jog forever without running out of breath.

At the track Monday night we jogged a couple 100-meter stretches as we walked a mile or so. This was following a day in the yard, messing in the flower beds, pretending to plant a vegetable garden in a section of the yard quickly being overrun by David’s wacko tree bushes.

Every single part of my body ached as we jogged the first 100 meters...my feet, my thighs, my knees, the backs of my knees...I felt ancient.

After we jogged the second 100 meters, I was still panting 200 meters later. I didn’t realize I was until I heard David pretend he was panting...he usually never makes any noise so I knew he was making fun of me. I wholloped him one and that put an end to his showmanship.

But then, in other ways, he’s a regular geezer. Or, at least, more cautious than I’d guess he’d be.

On the way home from a one-day conference in East Lansing last week, extreme fatigue overtook me so I stopped at a roadside rest area for a short nap. I left a message on the answering machine letting David know I’d be arriving with dinner, but later than expected.

“Don’t you know you should never take naps at rest areas when you’re alone? You could wake up with a gun pointing at your face!” he practically yelled at me, when I walked in the door.

“No felafel for you,” I wanted to say.

And when we prepared to leave the house for a walk that Friday night, he refused to put the eggplant parmesan in the oven.

“You would leave the house with the oven on?” he asked, incredulous.

“Well, sure! I trust the oven,” I replied.

It’s a new stove and the oven has never been a problem. The burners, on the other hand...on a regular basis they fill me with buyer’s remorse.

“I wouldn’t leave the house with any of the burners on, but the oven will be fine,” I said and headed to the bathroom, thinking I had convinced him.

We were rounding the track for the third of six times when it hit me: Did the eggplant parmesan end up in the oven?

“I didn’t do it, did you?” I asked David.

“I had no intention of doing it,” he said.

Well, he’s not throwing caution to the wind like I would. But at least he’s not forgetful.

I, on the other hand, had every intention of making sure the eggplant made it into the oven...It just took three laps around the track to jog my memory. Looks like my brain is failing at the same rate as my body.

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