You know how when you’re talking to an old lady you often have to slow down and explain stuff to her? Or help her figure out some new thing? Or maybe drive more slowly as you come up behind her because her turn signal is on and you’re not sure if she’s really going to turn. Or not? I hope you were kind, didn’t roll your eyes. I hope you were patient. Because I think that old lady might have been me.
I’ve been watching me at work lately. And I’ve been watching them. Those of you my age will know the them of which I speak. They are all tall and thin, wearing sharp suits. With short skirts and very high heels or tightly knotted ties, sharply creased trousers and shiny shoes. They hurry to meetings in pairs or groups carrying their half open laptops and talking seriously about IMPORTANT THINGS that will have IMPACT in their departments and across the company. They are intense. They are young. I squish over to the wall as they swish by, move aside as they come crashing down the stairwell, heels clicking, as I am slogging up in my heavy snow jacket, hat, worn out but warm mittens, boots, steamed over glasses. I don’t think they even see me.
They are in my department too, noticing when I do things in a slow methodical way on my computer. Noticing when toolbars are appearing that don’t need to be, when I open things in a less than efficient manner. They show me, patiently, how to do things faster, cleaner, BETTER. I add those bits of knowledge to my brain hoping something else as or more important doesn’t fall out. I polish my smudged glasses and continue on as I was because I know how to do things my way and it all gets done. Doesn’t it?
These days I catch a glimpse of me walking the halls at work and see someone who is a lot older than I thought I was. It’s a jolt every time. But I see me in the young people rushing about enthusiastically too. They remind me of me just a few moments ago. Or was it years. Well never mind, my memory is slipping. More and more frequently I realize that the old lady I see on the street and smile at is me.
I hope I can be patient with her.