I'm sorry, Judemiller, for biting your head off in a previous comment section. I actually dreamed last night that I had yelled at you.
The fact is that I think we all need some training in how to deal with elders. Jim never did get over being impatient with Addy when she walked through a door and stopped dead. She never could manage her debit card without help. She would hand it to me in the grocery store and let me do it.
She concealed the fact that she was legally blind, and even drove like that for a couple of years. She never could bring herself to admit to it, even though it would have got her a tax break. Need I say I was very relieved when Jim took away her car keys?
So, yes, elders can be annoying. However, it behooves us to learn why and try to have patience.
For a start, a clerk in a shop or a receptionist at a doctor's office can have no idea who she is dealing with. Just another smelly, slow, cantankerous old person, right?
That "old person" could have been a fighter pilot in the Korean War, a cop, a wartime factory worker, a prima ballerina, an entertainment idol. That "old person" could have been active in the Civil Rights movement. Could have saved lives as a nurse or firefighter, could have changed lives as a teacher or librarian. You just never know what the person has accomplished in life--that person you casually call "Hon," or "Dearie." I remember telling people, about Addy, "She has a name. It's right on your form there. She's Mrs Prior!" I knew quite a lot about Addy. I knew she once threw a monseigneur up against a wall because she caught him manhandling a teenage girl. She was tapped for the 1940 Olympics in track and field. She almost single-handedly desegregated a high school prom, in Lubbock in the 1960s. She called a former governor of Texas an ass, to his face. She was a tall, feisty redhead, in her youth.
So, just because she was, by then, white-haired and my size, and plagued with illness and infirmity, and blind and trembly and slow...does NOT give anyone the right to be disrespectful of her or to her.
...And every elder has stories like that. Oh, I know...not everyone has a life to look back on with as few regrets as she had, but still. You just don't know. None of us does.
I make it a point to cut elders all the slack in the world. After all, we may all be there someday. Not all of us will die the way we want to--in our sleep, without any loss of faculties, and after a hot night of dancing and...well...you know. In fact, most of us will find ourselves being bumped into because we have entered a room and stopped to make sure there's not a step down right inside the door. Many of us will have trouble with our debit cards; maybe forget our PIN, or hit the wrong button. And maybe we will be a bit impatient with ourselves for our progressive weakness and dependence on others. And maybe we will hope that others will cut us some slack.