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Getting Old

Sitting in the dentist's office this week, I watched the elderly in the waiting room with me. Over and over, as their names were called, the receptionist would have to call their names louder or even walk over to tap them on the shoulder to get their attention. Moving slowly, misunderstanding the rhythm of the office, I wondered if they were getting behind the wheel in this condition.

They were indeed.

I've purposefully watched as older folks sit for too long at green lights, turn directly in the path of another car after stopping at a red light and driving well below the posted speed limit. How are there not more accidents?

I drive like a maniac. Well, I drive a lot better since someone called my office complaining about my driving a couple of years ago. (Think about that next time you're inclined to put your phone number on your vehicle!) Traffic here moves fast or it doesn't move at all. It is normal to travel at 80 mph as a matter of course. I don't use my blinkers. I know! But, people here just don't. The decision between click the blinker or hold the phone... the phone always wins.

So, if someone with slowed reflexes drives 45 mph, you can imagine the hazard that can be.

Instead of beating up on elderly drivers, I wonder about myself as I get older. Will I drive 45 mph? Will I need someone to retrieve me from the waiting room because I can't hear what anyone is saying? Will I ever be old enough for this to be an issue?

My mom, god love her, drove like I did when I was growing up. An emotional driver, I had to have learned from her how to use the car as a means to express anger, frustration, happiness or sadness. I've driven crying hundreds of times. Not just a tear here or there, but snotty buckets of tears that required dozens of pulls from the Kleenex box I keep next to me. Isn't this a not great way to drive either? Mom did the same thing. I can see her even now, crying, singing When I Need You by Leo Sayer and narrowly missing that bike rider who rode on the street instead of the sidewalk.

One of my daughters rode with Grandma when we were home last Thanksgiving and she begged me not to make her ride with her ever again. My mom got lost for over an hour, played gangster rap music at full blast (she is the whitest woman on the face of the earth) and yacked the whole time saying how she never gets lost, how she thought she knew the way, how terrible all the other drivers were. Stifling a laugh, I told my child that she'd been like that when I was growing up, too, except substitute the Rolling Stones for rap. I told her we always had to leave with plenty of time to spare because she frequently got lost. Blinking, my daughter said, "How could you do that?" I told her I was a child and at her mercy! I didn't think to warn her of Grandma's driving habits.

Imagining my crazily driving mom in another 20 years is scary!

I wonder if my grandchildren will also beg not to have to drive with their grandma.

Maybe I should slow down. And use a little more of those blinkers.

Reader Comments (8)

yes I agree slow down and use blinkers-- I hate to be behind someone who doesn't use blinkers and I am amazed that they are not in more accidents.

how is your mouth? feeling better I hope.

August 2, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

... and keep in mind that the biker is, legally, SUPPOSED to be on the street and not the sidewalk. :-)

I know this is a random place to make my first post, but I've been reading for a couple weeks, and want to thank you for the frequently touching and enlightening read.

August 3, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

Just for the record, I equate not using a turn signal to walking in front of someone without saying "excuse me". It's just plain rude.

(Still love ya!)

August 3, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl Q

LOL I drive crazy too, though blinkers are a pet peeve so I always use one, though sometimes that means turning the blinker on with the hand holding the wheel cause the other one is holding a phone... hmm maybe a little less safe than not using the blinker at all!

But about older people driving. dh's grandfather was a horrible driver and the family tried everything to get his license revoked. But he still has it! (and yes this is in S. Cal lol)Because his eye sight is technically okay with glasses (ones he picks up at the thrift store)he's still able to operate a vehicle.

August 3, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBabylady

I hope that when the day comes, I will be able to give up my driver's license.

August 3, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

they test and if you pass you can still drive- which means that the other average drivers out there must be making as many mistakes in a different way but equal amount as old people--
" slow down you move to fast, got to make the morning last"

a long time friend of mine also a midwife- had so many tickets for speeding in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Texas I though she would never be able to keep her license. Wild driver to say the least- I rode with her all of 2 times and she gave my parents a ride to town one time and even my parents won't ride with her again . In her more recent marriage he introduced her to car clubs and her driving has improved so much- some of her driving was already on that edge you know of precision driving- and the car club brought up her other driving skills-

August 4, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I used to be really bad about turn signals and speeding. There was a cop in Fort Wayne who loved to pull cars over to improper use of a turn signal, so I got used to using it. Then I got a speeding ticket back in May and I haven't sped since then. LoL Guess it worked!

August 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterShylah

Get a hybrid car. You'll stop speeding right away as you obsess on the lcd screen about your immediate gas mileage

October 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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