Shallow, I’m Into The Sha-la-la-low Now

When the attendant told me I was at the wrong gate, I froze. I’d been at Midway Airport for two hours waiting to fly to Salt Lake City for my granddaughter’s 2018 graduate school graduation. My vision blurred, my legs shook and I gaped at him without speaking. I actually couldn’t hear him. Someone grabbed my arm and raced me over to the correct gate just before the jetway closed. Inside the plane, I was escorted to Row A
where they keep an eye on people. th-4

I traveled twice more that summer. Once I was in the wrong TSA line, so confused that a stranger brought me to where I needed to go, again. I’ve since developed a phobia, thanks to nightmarish remembrances of Tom Hanks in the movie Terminal—about a man who lives in the airport after he is denied entry into the US.

A friend who works for O’Hare tells me airport workers regularly experience confused old people wandering around lost and panicked. I’ve traveled a lot in my life but familiarity with airport commotion holds no weight now.

When I first retired, I was unsympathetic to people with cognitive disorders. I joined the morning exercise classes at church but not to make friends. I told myself I wasn’t like those old people. Well, those old people have subsequently shown me how to be old, have compassion for those who talk slower than I do, who will never remember my name nor I theirs, nor the title of the book we just read or the movie we all saw. Our get-th-7togethers are often hilarious games of 20 Questions where we all guess what someone is trying to remember.

There’s just not enough room for all the bits lodged in my aging brain. A mysterious natural phenomena controls the shedding and changing of my grey matter, like menstruation and menopause in my body. Trouble is, the shedding seems to be more active these days. Oh sure, curiosity fills my brain with new information but its cells refuse to let those memories form and what I learned yesterday is soon forgotten.

One technique I use to block braincell destroyers is to ignore anxiety-producing articles that say cognitive decline slows if I eliminate sugar or learn chess. Perhaps the content is correct, but I’m possessed of my own version of old age, not a researcher’s cookie-cutter version. Similarly, I cast off brain-shrinking agitations delivered by younger friends who tsk me for walking too slow or for asking them to speak up. 

However, I love music so I responded to an article about choir singing strengthening the memory and joined the Good Memories Choir. Singing won’t get me back in airports, but learning music keeps me attached to the real world. In Bradley Cooper’s remake of A Star Is Born, Lady Gaga sings about the love of the two main characters as “far from the shallow now,” as if the brain has no choice but to deepen the couple’s experience. In my case, like the reversed flow of the Chicago River, I have no choice but to spill out of the deep and into the shallow now.

___________________________________________________________

For those who don’t understand my title, I give you, with love, Shallow

 

9 thoughts on “Shallow, I’m Into The Sha-la-la-low Now

  1. Shallow? Hardly. After a primary read-through, I parse each sentence … to glean the last morsels of passion and meaning from the meaty bones of your paragraphs. It takes a rich-life study to brave a personal account of the vulnerabilities of aging … with a combination of softened snarkiness and raw sensitivity. I say leave the endless ferrying of the elderly around their confusion … to the generation that needs to learn the grace of loving kindness. It’s all part of the plan.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Shallow? Hardly. After an initial read-through, I parse your every sentence, gleaning each last morsel of passion and meaning from the bones of your paragraphs. Yours is a brave accounting of the personal vulnerabilities of aging … told in forms of snarkish sentimentality and raw sensibility. I’d leave the ferrying of the elderly around their confusion … to the generation that can and must provide the milk of human kindness,
    more for their own benefit. That’s the plan.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t think you rely too much on pop culture –you just suffer from sight privilege (ha!) and have one devoted fan –moi — who doesn’t go to a lot of movies. Keep the pop culture in your posts, it’s terrific.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love your articles.

    *Liska Blodgett *

    *peacemuseumvienna.com * *peacemuseumcolorado. com * *www.peacemuseumvalcea.eu * *www.peace-institute.co m* *www.peacemuseumnepal.com *

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    On Fri, Mar 1, 2019 at 10:48 PM BackStory Essays wrote:

    > Regan Burke posted: “When the attendant told me I was at the wrong gate, I > froze. I’d been at Midway Airport for two hours waiting to fly to Salt Lake > City for my granddaughter’s 2018 graduate school graduation. My vision > blurred, my legs shook and I gaped at him without spea” >

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “One technique I use to block braincell destroyers is to ignore anxiety-producing articles that say cognitive decline slows if I eliminate sugar or learn chess. Perhaps the content is correct, but I’m possessed of my own version of old age, not a researcher’s cookie-cutter version.” Yes! Tell them, Regan! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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