The graying of America is a well-accepted phenomenon. By 2050, the U.N. estimates that for the first time ever, the world population will have more people over age 65 than children age 5 and younger. What is extremely critical about this statistic is that children age 5 and younger are in no way capable of taking care of those of us over 65.
Life in the Boomer Lane has three grandchildren, aged 4, 2 and 6 weeks. Although LBL loves each of them more than life itself, they are complete losers in the caregiving department. LBL shudders to think of emergency situations in which she would have to depend on any of them. She would be lying on the floor while the two older ones would be racing their scooters over her body. The baby would be off somewhere, verbalizing in baby screech either, "I'm hungry," or "I'm exceedingly hungry."
All the hoopla aside, from LBL's vantage point, the world seems to be getting younger by the minute. Virtually all hospital doctors look like Doogie Howser, and restaurant hostesses look like they, themselves, just started eating solid food recently. LBL has become skeptical about most people out in the world being capable of either curing her illness or getting her a table at a restaurant.
A big issue with the proliferation of younger and younger people is their inability to understand simple concepts that are not dependent on something that has an on and off switch. Very recently, a friend of LBL, who we will call "Claire," because that is her name, went to a Hallmark store. She chose several greeting cards and took them to the pre-pubescent girl at the register. The girl look at the cards, lowered her voice and asked Claire, "Can I ask you a question? Why are you buying these cards?" Because Claire isn't a sarcastic twit like LBL and didn't say, "Because I can't find the cold cuts section," she asked the girl to explain the question.
The girl asked, "You know, why do people send cards? What is that about?" This question was interesting for two reasons. The obvious one is that this girl was clueless about sending greeting cards. Most likely, she Facebooked/Tweeted/texted birthday greeting to friends. The concept of sending an actual card was incomprehensible to her. Claire might as well have asked her where she could buy film for her camera.
The other interesting point was that she worked in a Hallmark store. You could get a job at a tattoo parlor as a receptionist. You might not agree that covering your body with tattoos is anything that would fit into your current lifestyle. But it would probably be helpful for career advancement if you understood why the people who patronized the establishment believed it was right for them.
LBL understands that newspapers, magazines, books and coffee makers that brew more than one cup of coffee at a time are disappearing rapidly. She still clings to her land line phone (it has better reception than her cell), but she knows its days are numbered. She is happy that vinyl records are back in vogue, but has already dumped hers at yard sales years ago. About the only thing she is looking forward to is that neuroscientists will soon be able to predict what she'll do before she does it. Hopefully, the neuroscientists will not consist of post-menopausal women, who will send her into the attic to find her winter jacket and have her return with her college yearbook.
And herein lies the conundrum. The world is getting older, even as everything in it is geared toward younger people. It seems like someone should notice this and call a temporary halt to progress, until we get all of it sorted out. Or at least until we figure out the remote.