Thursday, May 16, 2024

Living on the Level #T

      I like to think that in the metaphorical sense I live my life on the level in my dealings with other people. But today I sat down to write some thoughts about living on the level in a literal sense. I am abundantly blessed in that 1) I have lived a long time, and 2) I am still mobile. I can get around and go places. But I am pretty sure that when the youngsters see me going down the steps, say at our local post office, two feet on each step, hand on the rail, they probably remark to one another, "Look at the old dude. He's on his last legs." And they would be right. I am on the only legs with which my Creator endowed me. They just don't function so smoothly, so quickly, as they did in my youth. 
     Alternatively, the youngster should reflect that, "There, but for a few short years, go I." As the Preacher said, "Time and chance happen to them all."  (Ecclesiastes 9:11) Well, the young are immortal in their own sight, and more joy and happiness to them, I say. But they do need to treasure and care for the body they have been given, for there may be a limited number of replacement parts, but there is no replacement for the body itself.
     If you have observed me stepping off a curb, you will have noticed that I turn my body 90 degrees, facing parallel to the curb before I step off.  And why is that? There is no banister! So, you might think, our city has thoughtfully provided ramps at the intersections to accommodate those in wheeled vehicles, such as mobility scooters, wheelchairs, or even the baby buggy.  (Wait! Have you actually seen a parent wheeling a baby in a buggy in the last half-century? I am old.) And you think, "Why doesn't he use that ramp?"  Because. It is more treacherous than steps! Watch me lurching down one of those sometime. It's a nose-threatener. 
     Okay, so I am grateful to be living in Tipton where the streets and sidewalks are quite nearly perfectly level, though I am sure that a topographical map would show you that the elevation at, say, the corner of Conde and Walnut is a tad higher than it is at the corner of Main and Madison. But that is a quibble.  The town is essentially flat, and I appreciate that.
     As I get around town, I often meet people, a few contemporaries, a host of people of a certain age who were students of mine in the past, and I am often asked how I am doing, and sometimes hear an expression by the acquaintance to the effect that they are glad to see me getting out and about.  And I appreciate that. The other day, one of these people, seeing me negotiate a series of steps, courthouse, I think, and knowing that I live in a two-story house, asked me if I slept downstairs.  "No," I replied, "I still sleep upstairs, but I make only one trip up and one trip down each day, and when I can no longer do that, the master bedroom is on the first floor, and I can move down there."
     Mostly, I live life on the level.