Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sepia Saturday #344, Part 4: Living to 100.

I wrote this blog some time ago inspired by the desire to live to be 100. The Terrafugia is the part that fits the theme of "From Here to There."

I was in a squat position at our local pharmacy, looking at the melatonin arrayed by dosage size on the bottom shelf. A voice behind me said, "Melatonin! That's what I'm looking for. What do you think I should take?" I looked around and saw a woman I estimated to be about 70 standing there. I stood up so I could look at her directly and read her lips. She had nicely done gray hair, good posture and she was dressed well. She smiled at me and said, "Do you think 3 mg or 5 mg? I'm 100." I asked her if I'd heard her correctly. Did she say 100? And what did she mean by 100 - was it her blood pressure or some kind of diabetes score or?"No," she said. "I'm 100 years old." My first response was "What??? I can't believe that." At that moment, another woman came up and said, "Adrienne? I thought I heard your voice. Just want to let you know that Kathy and Dawn are coming to your 100th birthday party next week." It was starting to feel like some kind of scripted con. Just when I was ready to write Adrienne off as a crazy lady claiming she's 100, here's someone out of the blue, confirming her story. 

My mouth hung open as I watched the two women chat but only heard scraps of the conversation.They said goodbye and Adrienne turning away and walked up (briskly, I might add) to speak to the pharmacist. Richard was waiting for me outside in the car with the engine running so I had to get out of there. Would I have liked to hear her story!

She made me ponder the number of 100-year-olds I've run into. In my family, there was my grandmother, Pulcherie, who lived just past her 100th. She was having heart attacks regularly and surviving them, sitting in her chair in the assisted living home. She had stopped speaking and seemed to have left the world mentally. Her body lingered on for a while and life didn't look pleasant for her. Then there was Opal whom I shared with my cleaning lady, Lina, for years. At 98, she broke her back while swinging a bag of her brother's laundry over her shoulder. At 95, he wasn't able to handle his own domestic chores; Opal would fly to Texas to do his housekeeping. She made that trip back and forth three or more times a year in her 90's. Finally, when she was 98, she moved him to Fallbrook. Alone, she handled all the details, stress and anxiety involved with closing up his household and moving his belongings. She started Spanish lessons at about the same time and according to Lina was getting fairly good. A wonder woman, she drove until she was 100 and died at 102. 

My friend Merl's mother came over to my house for lunch when she was 100. She and Merl were visiting an Uncle in Carlsbad and made the trip over to see me. Merl was constantly fighting with her mother over her mother's penchant for a high heel and the attendant risks of a fall she was taking at her age. Of course, she wasn't wearing spikes - only a little heel, "They make your legs look so much better," she'd argue. At 100.

I've estimated that with luck, I might live to 85...averaging out the lifespan of my various family members and ignoring the fact that I've been irradiated sufficiently to glow faintly in the dark. Will my cooked brain hold up to 100 (not unless there's a preservative effect); the death clock on-line tells me I'll last until I'm 78. If I want to live 28 more years to 100 I'd have to make three changes: improve my diet, increase my exercise and increase my bank account. What kind of job could I do? Maybe something in the geriatric entertainment department?

Realistically, I might be better suited for data analysis of some kind - the sort of stuff interns in various occupations do. Meta-studies are all the rage at the moment...and you can do it at home. Or some kind of internet sales scheme. 

Do I really want to live until 2042? Looking around at predictions for what's to come, I think I do. I'm optimistic about the future. Wouldn't we all want a ride in the Terrafugia, projected to be in production in 8 years? If this technology works, by 2042, the skies will look like Buck Rogers thought they would, full of personal flight vehicles taking us wherever we care to go.

There are plenty of interesting developments to come in food science and agriculture that I'd like to be around to see.
Other predictions for around the time of my centenarian year.


  1. This was so interesting but I wish I could stop thinking about death. You do it in such an interesting way, tho. And I love the cartoon and the timeless photo.( I see you in there).

  2. Love that last cartoon. It's difficult for me to imagine being but then I look at my father who is powering in his 80s and think maybe it's quite feasible. I think the trick is to keep moving. Mentally and physically.

  3. My mom, at 98, is living in a lovely assisted living place. Her apartment has lots of windows & a small deck & everyone there is very friendly - including the caregivers. I'm hoping I will be as lucky! As for thinking about death, I had a co-worker who, when asked where she thought we go when we die, said she didn't know or care about where she came from before she was born, so she wasn't going to worry about where she'll go when she dies. Rather pragmatic - a sort of "Don't worry, be happy." kind of thing, I guess. And I can live (or die) with that! But hopefully not anytime soon!!!

  4. Loved your post - gave me a good laugh, which is supposed to be very good for longevity too.