It is almost as if we who live here are in a bubble, relatively unaffected by some of the more tragic things that are now going on in the world. Few even talk about these things; this is how awful they are. We do empathize, but limitedly, because to empathize to the nth degree would render us incapable of functioning to the degree that we’d like. Minimal empathy is a form of self-survival.
Those who are older have a better grasp on how to handle such things because they have a broader historical perspective. The problem, as I am seeing it, is that older people are not respected for their high degree of knowledge or for their hard-earned wisdom.
I am as guilty of this as the next person. A case in point – today I was at the Palmer Senior Center. It was paper airplane day. I was prepared. I brought lots of airplanes with me and as well, books for about two thirds of the seniors. I may have passed out the books too soon. Should have waited. And as I quickly discovered, my airplanes did not fly very well.
Jacki, the activities director, organized a contest, the winner being the one who’s airplane flew the farthest. This went well except for the fact that the planes didn’t go far. The winner, her name is Bonnie, got a certificate for her efforts.
I also set out books. Today I had a lot of history books on hand. As I was leaving the parking lot, I saw a woman by the curb, in her wheelchair, reading a book. I stopped the car, got out, went over to her and asked what she was reading. She lifted the book and I saw that it was Thomas Paine’s autobiography.
She said that she first was just going to read parts of it – then said that because it was so good, she was going to read the entire book. When she added that she’d return it when done, I told her to keep it.
I realized then that I’d erred in assuming that no one would want a lengthy, and maybe dry history book.
Lesson learned: don’t assume that those who are older are lacking in intelligence. This, as I now see is an erroneous assumption.
Next: 145. 5/27/22: Days like This