Tales from the Towers Birthdays

Whether I like it or not, I am part of a birthday race. What I mean is that in my case one birthday wants to arrive faster than the other, and before I know it, they overtake each other.. So another birthday came and went. Good wishes, telephone calls, e-mail messages and visits from special friends. All this at a time when I think that it’s time for my birthdays to be ignored finally.. Of course I would be terribly hurt if this would really happen…
I don’t know if I can put this under the heading of “Occupational Hazard”, the occupation being the goal of reaching old age. Old age arrives with the pertaining complaints of aches and pains and fading memory.
It also arrives with the “things one has to do”, like eat right, exercise as much as you can, and think of the friends who need one’s support.
One of the afflictions which I have to cope with is my fading memory. So I started to write everything down.. My house is full of little notes in the oddest locations, the fridge door being already full, I find other places, on the microwave oven, on the bathroom mirror, on my keyboard. Often a note doesn’t make sense, like the one that says “2.30 Monday”. What do I have on 2.30 Monday? This is the time I am usually asleep! As far as I know nothing would get me out of bed at 2.30. Maybe it will come back to me, usually things come back to me at 1 o’clock at night and then I have difficulties falling asleep again. I get out of bed and write another little note Sometimes I get into trouble if the note on my table says “dentist at four thirty” and the note in my bathroom says “committee meeting at four thirty” Then I have to pick up the phone and cancel, one of the 4.30’s, which happens more often than I like…
My notes are mostly about the things I have to do:
My friend Tzipora fights a bout of depression. I called her on Tuesday. My note says that I should call her again at least on Thursday.
Miriam has eye trouble. She can’t read now and asks me to give her half an hour of my time to read the long German letter which she received from her cousin who lives in Berlin. The letter has 8 pages, is handwritten and she is happy to pass it on to me, because she could never read his handwriting anyway, and now she has a good excuse. Hopefully half an hour will be enough.
Malka broke her hip, I visited her yesterday, but I am due for a repeat visit maybe tomorrow.
Naava is in the hospital with some mysterious virus, I am not going there since I don’t know what kind of virus it is, but my note says I should call her on Friday the latest.
I think you get the idea.
The Towers are a world in miniature, people become friends and people don’t get along with some other people. We enjoy our social life, we celebrate our birthdays, we go on excursions, sometimes we get sick, and sadly, sometimes we die. The only thing which never happens is the arrival of a new baby, unless of course it’s a grand child or a great grandchild. Mostly what happens here are endings and nearly no new beginnings. Unless one decides to take swimming lessons at the age of 76, which one of my neighbors did. She swims like a fish now!. And of course our lives have the background music of various complaints.. A friend of mine who will celebrate a round birthday next week, tells me on the phone:
“It’s hard to celebrate when you get up in the morning and your back is hurting, walking to the bathroom is hard work and you don’t find your dentures, nor your pills!’
She may have a point there.
I try not to think of my racing birthdays. I enjoy the glorious sunrise from my balcony each morning, when my home is bathed in spectacular red-golden light. I drink my first cup of coffee watching the magnificent ball of fire ascending the sky and once more I think that creation is not just an empty word.
There are the gray mornings when it rains and I miss the sun, but I am aware that we need every drop of rain so badly, that I try to enjoy the dark sky and stepping out on my balcony, I allow a few drops of rain to wet my face. Racing birthdays or not, life is still good.