Silver Threads: Don't Forget the Old with the New
Whatever made the folks at the Times-Picayune think they needed to lighten up?
When I was putting together a daily newspaper section I’d sometimes get artistic and do layouts featuring type printed on colored backgrounds. “Don’t do that,” the big editors would say. “That’s too hard for people to read.”
They’d be sure to say that about the new T-P look; the type seems several shades lighter than in other print papers I subscribe to. This comes at a time when I badly need to see an ophthamologist.
I’ve decided to get red frames for all my new glasses when I finally make a much-needed trip to the eye doctor. With them I’ll be able to see the darn things lurking on the coffee table, the one at my bedside, on the kitchen counter or bathroom vanity — wherever I dumped them despite the fact I’d vowed always to put them in the same place. Don’t even mention one of those little ropes that hang them from your neck.
That’s apparently much too sensible for me.
But I digress. The T-P makeover comes at a bad time for us seniors, just as have a number of other developments. For instance, why did I have to park my own car in CBD garages? A nice man used to do it for me. (I stopped driving more than a year ago, but the memory of navigating through high-rise parking places still rankles.)
Why did all the movie theaters move out of my neighborhood? There used to be one within walking distance from home, and two more only a ten-minute drive away. And why did the picture show companies put in stadium seating? The other day — coming out of the 2 p.m. sun — I climbed high in the dark, falling on the steps and bruising one side. It still hurts.
Why are customer-service calls answered by a robot who sings out a menu of possible reasons for the connection, none of which even resembles my problem? And it takes ages to reach a human being?
Where are all those street corner mailboxes? Why do I have to go to the post office to mail a check because a rather large credit card payment was stolen from the box in front of my house? (That’s when I set up automatic payment, one of the modern developments a senior finds most useful.)
What happened to all the doctors who practiced out of little houses near my neighborhood and could see me the day after I called? And why can’t today’s medics discuss my aches and pains for more than 15 minutes? Flip side: If you visit one of those big medical centers, you’ll get tests done and results back more quickly.
What happened to plain speaking on television? Why won’t actors stop mumbling? Why do the networks and cable cancel or wind up all the good shows — like “The Good Wife” and “Downton Abbey”? Why are many casts a bunch of lookalikes, so you can’t tell one character from the other? And don’t they understand that most seniors don’t really like “reality” all that much?
And why not supply a place to rest my wrist on when I sign my credit card at a check-out counter? Why can’t grocery stores put everything no lower than knee level so seniors won’t have to bend over so far? (This has, of course, never been the case, and devices that would be enhanced by wrist rests are relatively new, but aren’t these good ideas for our convenience and comfort, not to mention a column?)
Coping with life in 2016 can be hard for the aged. But e-readers, tablets, cell phones and computers are lovely. And if you recall that I’ve told you before that I don’t love self parking or pumping, then you’ve got a better memory than mine.
Bettye Anding is a former editor of the Living section of The Times Picayune, for which she wrote “Silver Threads” until her retirement. Email comments to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.