Trusting Less With Age

I notice, the older I get the less I trust. Probably, it was the result of youthful naiveté, but I used to trust more. Now? Much less so. New situations, new people, machinery, restaurants, commercials, movie reviews, book reviews, commentaries, predictions of any kind, weather reports, special effects, history, television news. You name it, unless I’ve been able to investigate it fully first hand, I probably won’t trust it.

Now I understand my grandmother, now that she’s dead and gone, now that I’m older and now that I’ve spent an accumulated number of years around other senior citizens— reading about them in books, viewing their portrayals in movies, especially working with them as a nurse’s aid while in college. Now that I have more life experience, I can finally appreciate select viewpoints of the senior citizen population. Senior citizens are the most skeptical group of people I have ever observed. If they don’t know you, they don’t trust you (unless, of course some of the lights are off upstairs).

Recently, on a sunny afternoon, I was driving my car along a winding and hilly back road. The speed limit along varying stretches ranged between thirty and forty miles per hour, which for the most part I followed. But at times I found myself driving hesitantly on the bends. Once upon a time, well into my thirties, I drove like a bat out of hell. I was a speed-demon on the road. Now that I’m fifty-one, not so much.

It’s not that I’ve lost faith in my own driving abilities (…. well maybe a little). More significantly, I’ve lost faith in most of the other drivers on the road. They make me damned nervous! I don’t trust their driving abilities at all. Maybe this is how older drivers felt about me and my ilk when we were given license to populate highways and by-ways. I don’t know.

All I know is, now that I am older, most of the drivers on the road seem to be in a hurry, and they seem more wreckless than I used to be. Although, I guess there are no logical degrees of wrecklessness, either you are or you aren’t. Heh. Nevertheless, my increasing inability to trust is starting to impact my driving. And I know it’s because I’m on the cusp (I hope to be cusping for at least ten or fifteen more years) of senior citizen life, leaving behind the days of being carded or addressed as miss. Now that I’m fifty-one, I barely balk anymore at being called ma’am. Aging happens to us all, I’m trying to get over it.

One of my memories of Grandma in her latter years is how mentally tired she was of life’s social pretenses, the bullshit. She was tired of the hustlers, tired of the liars, tired of the business tricks, and tired of disingenuousness of people. What I also remember about the old people I took care of as a nurse’s aid, is how few family members visited. Yeah, those seniors were tired too. Tired of being disappointed by loved ones, like my grandmother was by the occasional scammer.

And yet, my grandmother never quite gave up on humanity. I didn’t know it at the time, but she was instilling hope in us for the lives we would carry on following her demise. Grandma sustained her hope through an unpredictably, delicious sense of humor. Blunt honesty was no longer whispered or hinted at in her world. All those polite approaches towards communicating took too much time and effort, Grandma just said what was on her mind. And usually it was funny as hell since most of us lacked the courage for such straight talk.

So I think this is where I am, except that I’m probably a little young to be here, in this extraordinarily truthful place. I blame it on the writing. It’s a curse and a gift. Sooner or later I’m bound to piss somebody off. And that sucks, because like it or not, my ego is destined for some bumps and bruises.

And yet, if I’m being honest, I must admit that ego-girl has tended to give as good as she gets, sooo ….. meh. Karma crapola.

Anywayz! Driving. Windy roads. Trusting less. Bullshitters. Missing my awesome grandmother. Appreciating the aging process. That’s what’s up.