Shush, calm down my dear! We will be home soon and there you can sprawl on your nice soft bed!” an old lady says. She says this to her dog.
Silly old lady. Doesn’t she realize that the dog doesn’t understand her? Yes, dogs are able to recognize several words and react to them depending on their training, but speaking to a dog in that way is pointless. And to expect that the dog could make anything out of it is... silly, to say the least.
But why do old ladies (because she probably isn’t the only one) talk to their dogs in this way? Don’t they have anyone to talk to? Well, what if they don’t?
The idea of a beautiful old age, when the work is done and all one has to do is to sit in a beautiful garden or a park with a pond, watching the leaves fall, and the grass grow all while smiling blissfully might, not be entirely in accordance with the truth.
While it might be nice to enjoy a moment of idleness from time to time as a sort of refuge from the hectic life, it certainly isn’t something one would like to ‘do’ all the time. When combined with loneliness, the longed for state of not having to do anything turns into a nightmare. At first there is peace, perhaps, but later on, comes boredom, frustration and despair.
What can one do then? It’s slightly simpler for men. All it takes is a pub somewhere nearby and farewell loneliness and boredom, welcome fellowship and merry making. After a husband leaves for a pub, or in the worse case, after women lose their husbands, they get a dog and talk to it, expecting to be visited by their children and see their grandchildren, or hoping to stumble upon some of their neighbours and have a chat with them. All of that while watching horrible television shows with unbelievable regularity and in an unbelievable amount.
Is this what’s awaiting all of us? Why do older people spend their time in pubs or talking to a dog? Well, because there isn’t really a place for them anymore. The lucky ones become a part of a community in a village or a nursing home (which would make for an article on its own - e.g. the feeling of uselessness and of being a burden to others), but the rest...
The young ones meet in cafés, bars, restaurants and the older ones, for instance, at... Where can they meet? It is difficult to imagine pensioners making acquaintances in public institutions. There isn’t much space (not merely from the physical point of view) for making new acquaintances at an old age altogether. Old age is more about focusing on already existing bonds.
Speaking about the institutions, they aren’t much help. The clientele of old people (with their ´insufficient pension´, just ask them! sometimes you don’t even have to do that) is not able to support certain branches of business, so it is ‘rational’ that there isn’t much focus on them. And when the cat’s away, the mice will play. There are companies exploiting the shopping potential and suggestibility of older people. They are really easy to sell to, for instance fake ‘titanium’ frying pans, magical healing mattresses or extremely efficient vacuum cleaners for a great bargain. But at least they care...
The retirement age is planned to increase up to the age of 70. It is not very pleasant information, but maybe it’s not entirely a bad thing. Maybe it’s better to drop into the grave right on the way from work than to ‘peacefully’ await your death in idleness. Maybe...
by Martin Krč
Year 2, Issue 3