There's this old woman who lives in my neighborhood, across the street. She has to be in her eighties, maybe older. I see her almost every day, usually doing the shopping. She is tiny and frail and a sharp dresser, often with heels. Sometimes she doesn't wear make up, and some days she wears more than I do in a year; I get the feeling that she's doing her best but going blind, so to her the giant clown circles of rouge and the smear of bright red in the general area of her mouth probably look just about right. Her hair is a crazy mop of gray, usually styled up quite deliberately in the front and then basically like a windstorm hit it in the back. What you can't see can't hurt you.
We often see her with a man, I assume her husband, even more frail than she is. They hobble around the block together. Lately he's been using a walker. When they get to the door, he opens it for her, but he's so weak it takes a really long time, because he has trouble holding the weight of the door and moving forward at the same time. Sometimes Squire wants to run across the street and help; sometimes we just stare out the window and admire them. The determination, the eventual success. It's hard to not think about aging.
I do not want to be old and frail, though as long as I can still toddle down the hill to the store and back, I won't feel frail. Or even if I am frail, I expect as long as my mind keeps working I won't be too bothered. I don't imagine I'll make it as far as these two, anyway. Into my eighties? It seems unlikely. The thought of thirtyplus more years seems kind of exhausting. I mean, I like my life very much now, but what would I do with thirty more years of it? Would I, in thirty years, finally master the art of applying lipstick? Or would I finally have given up? Would I still suck at the ukulele? Would it make a difference if there were somebody to hold the door open for me? Would the teenage boy across the street come running, if I baked him cookies? Should I learn how to bake, sometime in the next thirty years?