I was in our local Consumer Value Store to pick up an item in the shaving needs aisle and a prescription. I entered the aisle and easily located the prize I was seeking but it was on a bottom shelf. I hate to bend down to retrieve things. However, squatting down herself to get an item from a bottom shelf opposite my bottom shelf was a lady of a certain age. She looked up, apologized for blocking the passage. "Not a problem," I said. " I just need to get an item over here."
She stood. "It is such a pain to have to get down," she stated.
"I know what you mean, though for me I can get down readily enough but I am never sure I'll be able to stand up again."
She chuckled, then went into the getting-old-ain't-it-awful routine. "I'll be sixty-five next month," she informed me. "It's not just the aches and pains, but my health overall."
Uh, oh, I thought. I'm in for it now. And I was. She started with the dread of Alzheimer's. Told me her mother had it and she was constantly on edge for fear she was going to suffer the same fate.
"You may not get it. Not everyone whose parent suffered from that does."
"Oh, yes; I almost certainly will. My grandmother had it, too. Mother lived to be 94 and the last two years of her life were very unpleasant."
"Well, you may have a long way to go, then." Always trying to be an encourager, even when my efforts are clearly doomed to fail. And they did. She moaned on and the litany of ills got longer as each passing minute got even longer. I was beginning to try to think of a way to graciously extricate myself from this conversation that I did not initiate. I started to move slowly toward the pharmacy. She kept talking.
Suddenly she said, "How old are you, anyway?' Well, she asked, so I told her. "No!" There's no way you can be 83."
"Well, yes. I have children your age."
Conversation stopper. Thankfully.