• Brian D. Hinson

Aging Ain’t So Bad: Three Oldsters that Rock

Back in 2017, not long after I started gigging for Uber, I pulled up at 9pm to a physical therapy place. Out pops a well-dressed elderly fellow with a cane, a duffle and a fedora. He seats himself beside me and as we roll out, he announces, “I was born in May of 1916!”

I braced myself for some dotard's boring tale. Then it hit me, a beat late: This motherfucker’s a hundred years old! A full century of living, and here he is, walking with only a cane, dressing spiffy for a trip to his physical therapy, and using his phone to grab an Uber! He instantly won mad respect from me.

He claimed no special secret to his longevity, but he told me never drank much nor smoked much nor ate too much. There wasn’t time for him to tell me what he did for fun between not doing these vices, but he did clearly remember dancing and celebrating in Times Square at the end of World War II.

Another favorite oldster I picked up one summer from a musical at Popejoy Hall. He was with his wife. The gentleman was using a walker, and I had trouble collapsing and folding it into the trunk. These origami things mystify me. Once we were rolling I asked about the show, and they both said they enjoyed it. I usually play classical music in the car, that day was no exception, and the man asked, “Do you enjoy it? Or do you have it on for the benefit of your passengers?”

I replied that I really like classical. He asked about my favorite composer (Johann Sebastian Bach) and best opera I’ve ever seen (Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung). He went on to tell me he played bassoon for the El Paso Symphony Orchestra for decades. He retired to New Mexico and catches as many shows as he can.

This man pursued his love of music throughout his life, and still does even though he can barely walk. I give him high marks for a live well lived, and persistence in living it even when faced with physical difficulties. Bravo.

Lastly, I give you the sassy eighty-something passenger I picked up at her apartment one morning last week. Like Mr. 100, she was going to do a little physical therapy. She didn’t look like she needed any: she walked unaided and with a little spring in her stride. But she told me she’s suffered through four brain surgeries in the past few years. She added, very directly, that she’s not done with life, she has more things to do. When I wished her a good day at the end of the ride, she replied, “I’ll make it good!”

That’s how this blog ends, with a little sage advice. Make your fuckin’ day good.

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