Thursday, January 11, 2018

It's Raining - Hard

An obvious redundant statement when telling a story about yourself is "When I was younger."  Yes, you were younger, everything that has happened in your life was when you were younger than you are now even if it were but a second ago.  Not only that, but every moment that you are alive you are growing older and the only way to stop that is not a great alternative, and that is to not be alive.

It's fascinating to listen to different conversations in different setting, in particular I'm thinking about the aquatic center which we visit twice a week.  We choose a time when there is no structured activity or exercise session and apparently the others in the water at that time are making a similar choice.  Gail claims she can't swim but floats well.  I claim that I could swim if I didn't sink to the bottom.  So we exercise our joints and muscles by walking the river, with the flow and against the flow, forward and backward.  Then we walk in the still pool twisting and turning as we go.  After getting our pulse rate up a ways, we move to the therapy pool where the water is warmer.  There we do stretches and arm exercises until we move to the spa for a few minutes of letting the body enjoy the warm circulating water.

The number of persons in all these pools is low while we are there, maybe up to a dozen, usually fewer, in both pools.  Most of them appear at least our age, some a bit younger.  Rarely do we see someone who appears trim and fit.  They exercise in the water probably because it's low-impact and they want to keep moving.  Some set their canes and walkers aside before entering the pool of choice.  Some come with a physical therapist from the local hospital.  Few seem to be there just to hang out.

Besides the artifacts of walking aides and bumps in their chests for pacemakers, the conversations betray some of their motivations for being there. "I had my second knee replaced at so-and-so and it went better than the first time."  "They told me that if I had another heart attack it could be the last."  Those conversations lead into "I'm doing this because my knee was acting up," or "My brother was having problems and I decided that I didn't want the same issue."  Yes, the conversations center around health including costs, benefits, insurance and sometimes the politics of health care.

After a face become more and more familiar, conversations advance to restaurants, diets, families, jobs-mostly former jobs.  Although there was the day when an older gentleman came up to me and gave me a summary of his life in Wyoming and his move to Oregon.  I'm afraid he thought that was important for him to share and for me to know.

The saddest part of these conversations is that I'm way too quiet.  I seldom get past "Good morning."  Maybe my resolution for the next phase of my life when I'm not younger is expand my repertoire of conversation.  After all they're all good people.