I can think of one good sign of aging: the appearance of grandchildren. My granddaughter was born hardwired to manifest God’s promise to restore to me the years that the swarming locusts have eaten. Scratch that. The years that I fed to the swarming locusts.
Other signs of aging aren’t as terrific. Our cat, Coolidge, is an aging diabetic. His inner chronometer has gotten a bit off. He managed for so many years to adapt to the essentially diurnal schedule of his inferior-being keepers. But he can no longer suppress the fact that he is a nocturnal creature. At 2:30 AM, he commences a strain of literally bloodcurdling yowls, wondering why everyone is not assembled for game time. Why is no one hurling his yellow mouse across the living room so that he can gallop off and pounce on it and bat it around and leap and jump like a young cat — and why are they not cheering his conquest?
For the record, the answer is that no one is up and hurling the yellow mouse because one of the essentially diurnal keepers is asleep, and the other has been startled awake with the force of such a strong stress reaction that a migraine has placed its three-way vice grip about her head. No matter. Ever dutiful and thoughtful of the Poor (for his yowl suggests that he is of all cats most pitiable) Aging Diabetic Cat, she gets up to make sure that said Cat has food and is all right. At this point, said Cat is hiding behind a chair, getting the game under way. Not content to be named for a president, Coolidge harbors the admittedly plausible delusion that he is Ramses.
Lately, the idea of writing has been frankly daunting. I’ve thought of the justice of doing a twitter-type blog, but the warning bell against such an idea was so resounding as to bring about a migraine rebound. No matter what, I have a duty to retain sufficient humanity so as to speak and not tweet.
Maybe J. Alfred Prufrock, upon growing old, had only to worry about whether to wear his trousers rolled, but I have other considerations. I’ve had arthritis since I was very young, but it’s amazing how the joints still have room to keep snugging down, crimping my nerves; and somehow, this progressive process has failed utterly to increase flexibility. Becoming stiffer means becoming slower, and slower means doing fewer things in a day, and that means the worst: adjusting one’s routine. I try to be very brave, but as Judah represented Jacob’s life as bound with Benjamin’s, mine is bound with my routine — and with the life and the enjoyment of life belonging to my Poor Aging Diabetic Cat.