The Thing About Old People

“The thing about old people,” I inform Phil, “is that they fall and break things—like hip bones.”

Since I’ve become one myself, I find old people fascinating, constantly read about them.

Right now, I’m reading an article about the importance of exercise for the elderly. Phil’s reading a review of Ridley Scott’s Napoleon, pauses with a long-suffering look. I can almost see a digital finger holding his place in the paragraph. “Hmmm,” he says absently. And returns to the review.

Popeye & Olive Oyl, Santa: photo taken for Phil

Here’s the thing: I believe the times we face each other across our cozy breakfast room table are, should be, social times. I recently told our friends Kitty and Richard that.

“You’re a sharer,” Richard said, nodding sagely.

I stared at him. Of course, I’m a sharer. What else would I be? What do my dear friend Kitty and I DO on our weekly walks if not share? What is relationship about if not sharing?

Oh, wait: Kitty and I are women. Our husbands are men.

Besides being male, which in itself mitigates against sharing, my dear husband is a Scorpio, the ultimate non-sharing sign. I should have researched that before I married him forty years ago. Too late now. At our age, when one of us goes, the other will get a cat. I will. I’m not sure what he’ll do, but he better not remarry.

2023 fav portrait of Phil

Scorpios keep stuff secret that has no reason to be kept secret. After we run a bunch of tedious errands, Phil treats me to lunch out, planned it, never said a word. Me, when I plan a thing like that, I advertise it for days. “Next Thursday, when we have to do that bank business, I’m taking you out to lunch afterwards.” That’s me. Total disclosure in neon lights.

The article I’m reading says old people lose muscle, lose a sense of balance and hence, run a risk of falling on their brittle bones. The article says I should keep doing my yoga. That’s what I really wanted to tell Phil across the breakfast table. I jump up to demonstrate.

“Look, I can still do tree pose.”

He nods, “that’s nice, honey, and I’d like to finish this review,” his digital finger holding his place, “if you could only stop interrupting me.”

He doesn’t say that, though. He’s endlessly patient and polite, this guy, admires my shaky tree. But I can see in the set of his mouth that he’d like to say it. And I’m aware that I interrupt him about fifty times for every time he interrupts me. I smile sweetly, kiss him on the cheek and leave the room.

I’m done with breakfast and now is as good a time as any to practice balance poses. Dear Reader, it’s a secret to this marriage’s success.


Post your own secrets to relationship success in comments on the blog.




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13 Responses to The Thing About Old People

  1. sylvia montero says:

    Great blog my spirit friend. I have always loved the child in you, keeps Phil young, I think. Not that he is not young at heart, yea that’s right Phil, I love you too. Tony and I are at Ojo Caliente, celebrating our 39th Aniversary. You of all people know our romance when it started I mean. We are like oil and vinegar, Tony’s wedding band it white gold and mine silver, good example. He is the water I am the fire one cannot live with out the other even though they are opposites.

  2. Barbara Fairchild says:

    Too funny. I interrupted Dan’s reading yesterday with a very insightful observation and he was polite but then he asked if he could just finish his morning reading. And I laughed at your comment about remarrying. It reminds me of a meme that also makes me laugh. Is there a way to attach a photo here?

  3. Edna Thomas says:

    Pat, I enjoyed this so much! Poking into my head and scooping out my thoughts is what it felt like. I guess the man/woman thing is very key here! Although I did not have a long and bonding marriage, I certainly have observed many. Sometimes I am envious. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with relief! Keep writing, my friend.

  4. Michael Stipek says:

    Wonderful sharing story, Pat!
    Peg and I will be sharing our 36th anniversary in another week. On our recent trip to the Meher Center in Myrtle Beach, SC, I took a picture of her sitting on the steps of the boat house. Then I told her that this was the very spot I proposed to her back in…1987!
    It is fortunate that she and I both are cat people; it helps to bond us, with her being a Cancer and me having to deal with being a double Scorpio. We also leave our cell phones at home when we go out to eat. Listening to each other is about the best thing we can do for our togetherness.
    And she doesn’t interrupt me when I’m having my morning coffee with the newspaper.
    And I try not to interrupt her when she is on the phone with an extensive number of phone friends.

  5. kittyknight83 says:

    Yes, sharing! It’s the best! Keep up the trees. Love this !

  6. deb says:

    Oh, this one definitely hits home with all us “older” folks, Pat! Probably the best lesson I’ve learned in life is that I can’t change the man I am with, and there have been some that needed changing, believe me! In fact, not trying to change Geof has provided a wonderful sort of peace in my life. We’ve been together now for about 20 years, although I’ve known him since I was 17. We read our different morning news sources separately–he in the living room, me in the kitchen; but we do yell out interesting headlines to each other now and then. When he really drives me crazy with his inability to communicate, I call his son (my godson) and we laugh about him in private. Happy Holidays!
    Love Sylvia’s comments!

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