Everyone but me

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Middle-aged. That was an accurate assessment.

She by no means considered herself elderly. In fact, in her estimation, the years had been quite good to her. A simple glance in the mirror confirmed this. And there were many glances. Why, as far as she was concerned, age had little effect on her. But not so with the world around her.

Were she not so perceptive, she thought, then much of what she observed would be missed. They were not sudden changes, as a shift of the wind, but rather like the slow erosion of sand at the shore.

Her first indication of the changing world around her was in the volume of noise. It had somehow gotten quieter. Perhaps people had finally realized that loudness was no substitute for talent and that quietness in voice was actually virtuous.

The problem came when those with whom she wished to communicate spoke in such low tones that it was difficult for her to understand. She, in fact, considered it rude that those around her would speak in such low voices as to not be sensitive to her lack of understanding.

But she dare not reprimand them, for that would have been too harsh, and she needn’t

stoop to such levels. An occasional nod of the head seemed to satisfy them that she actually did understand.

But the rudeness of people speaking too softly to her carried over to other areas. For some reason,

car horns were not as loud and television sets had trouble maintaining volume.

Obviously, it was due to some new government regulation and related to this trendy term of “noise pollution”. It seemed that with all the technology these days, the least they could do was tweak the volume of those things we need to hear. But, obviously, the world was merely quieter.

In addition, the pace of the world seemed to have accelerated. It appeared they couldn’t wait to pass her on the highway. Why, just a few years back, they were driving the same speed as her. Why had they decided to speed up? Probably due to these new powerful cars that folks seemed to crave. Not her. Dependability was her watchword, and her old Ford would do just fine. Why, if law enforcement would do their job, the roads would be a safer place.

But what probably concerned her the most was how those around her had aged. Why,

Ida Mae seemed to have a new wrinkle a week (but she would dare not mention it to her). Perhaps it was in her genes. And if Beatrice skipped just one week of dying her hair, those gray roots would be plain for anyone to see. And if Josephine walked any slower, she’d be going backwards. It’s no wonder she was always late.

It was simply amazing how those around her had changed so much these last 20 years. But it would not be her that told them such. She would just go along and pretend that everything was the same so as not to intrude.

Why, if they didn’t notice their aging, should she offend them by speaking the obvious? No, she would simply carry on as if nothing was happening. Now where had she put her eye-glasses?

Rex alphin is a farmer, businessman and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His e-mail address is rexalphin@aol.com.