In less than an hour I was transformed from a spring chicken to a doddering antiquity – all it took was a visit to Clicks Pharmacy to get my annual ‘flu injection. They work for me, despite other people’s view that this is a useless exercise. I’d finally managed to sandwich in a visit to the Clinic Sister after my weekly Water Aerobics session, and before my monthly Book Club meeting. It’s been a busy month, as usual. I found a new Clinic Sister at Clicks . A younger woman, very pleasant, who quickly looked up my details on the computer, confirmed I’d gone through the procedure before and knew the system: have the injection, take the paperwork to the Pharmacists, and pay. “Can you get up on the bed, please” she said, turning to unwrap the ampoule kit. So I climbed up the little steps, sat down, pulled up my sleeve, and waited for her to turn around and do her thing. She turned, looked at me perched expectantly on the bed, and said in tones of surprise “My goodness, you didn’t need any help to get up on the bed, it seems like people don’t get old anymore!” I was so astonished I gaped at her, like a stranded goldfish ….. why would I need help to get onto the bed? Slowly I realised she must have noted my age on her PC, and this led to her remark. Had I the presence of mind I should have said “Lady: I’ve just come from a Water Aerobics Class, so I would hope I don’t need assistance to get onto your bed!” But I closed my dropped jaw, thanked her politely and joined the queue to have my paperwork processed. While I queued, my eye fell on a placard advertising a new discount scheme for medication. Okay, I thought, I need to find out about that, anything to save a few bob. When I reached the counter, I was served by Mr Brown, a Pharmacist perhaps a little younger than I am, but grey and grizzled nonetheless. I asked if he could explain about the discount scheme. “Well,” he said “ you could phone them – there’s an 0800 number there “ and he pointed to the placard “but it takes forever; on the other hand you could look at the website …?” here he paused and looked at me, and slowly repeated “look at their website – do you know how to do that? maybe get somebody to do it for you?” His tone was that of an physicist battling to explain nuclear fission to pygmies in the rainforests of the Congo. Yet again I was completely stunned by his assumptions, and my silence, coupled with my startled expression caused him to start again with his explanation. “Not to worry” I interrupted him, “sounds like too much trouble”. Luckily for the pharmacist I was so taken aback that I was at a loss for words. I walked away thinking grimly *Boetie: I probably know more about the InterNet and the web than you do! And just because I’m a wrinkly, how dare you assume that I’m brain dead? Let it be noted for my overseas readers, who are not personally acquainted with me, I am not tottering around on a Zimmer frame, or being wheeled about in a wheelchair by a carer. Moral of the story: Assumptions and generalities are dangerous, and frequently wrong. Just because people are old don’t assume they are stupid and/or semi-dead. The famous philosopher Bertrand Russell, was mentally active and productive and so was …. oh forget it, the list is a long one. If you’re a Senior Citizen cruising the Blogosphere, I’d love to hear from you – I know you’re out there! Yay for Silver Cyber Surfers!
• Afrikaans word = brother