Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hodgepodge 306/365 - Old Age / Balloons

At dinner this evening (canneloni and my favorite artichoke-fontina ravioli with truffle cream sauce, swoon), David remarked that he is going to be 64 in a couple of weeks. "When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now," I sang. I then confessed that I am very aware lately of getting older—though I'm not yet losing my hair, thank goodness. It's not even going too gray. Yet.

With every celebrity death, I monitor the age: David Bowie was only 69; John Abercrombie, 72; Dick Gregory, 84. That gives me, respectively, seven, ten, and twenty-two more years, perhaps. If I live to my mother's age of 93, thirty-one. It's a ticking-off thing I do, automatically, an accounting of possibility. In any case, I recognize that (a) my days are numbered (though I'm still very much in denial about actually dying) and (b) there's no telling how many days that will amount to.

The lesson, of course, is to take each day as it comes and appreciate it. Simply that.

So no, I don't wallow in dread. At the moment, I am fully and gloriously alive. I'll take it.

But I do fear the end days ("fear" is not too strong a word). I fear that I will be ancient and alone (David, in my worst dreams, having already died), with no one to talk to, no one to take care of me, no one to, simply, care. I'll languish there in my Depends, toothless, staring unseeingly at my roommate's TV. (Though with any luck, I'll be deaf as a post, so the loud volume won't matter.)

At dinner, David reminded me of "our plan" (which is actually his plan, but I humor him): to jump out of an airplane with no parachutes on our seventy-fifth anniversary. That would be when we are 101 and 102.

I have long since ceased reminding him that there's a maximum age for skydiving—ostensibly with a parachute—which varies from 55 to 70. There's one company in England, Hinton (making a note) that states "no maximum age for tandem," but that hardly helps our cause. They're not going to tandem us up.

Then he had a brainstorm: what about a hot air balloon? Just get it aloft and jump out of the basket? I mimed him, at 102, inching up onto the side of the basket, bit by creaky bit (after all, they must securely lock the gate), and having the balloonist twig to what he was up to and pulling him back in. Foiled!

But then we realized, why couldn't we just buy a balloon? Surely there are videos on YouTube demonstrating exactly how to fire up and launch a hot air balloon. If we were only going to use it once, we wouldn't have to worry about a license. Especially if we took it somewhere unpopulated—who would know? We'd jump; it would crash—and maybe one day, a small plane flying overhead would notice a patch of bright fabric, and call it in. But they'd never find us.

When I was in elementary school, we made hot air balloons, maybe three feet in diameter, out of tissue paper and sent them aloft, I do not remember how. Surely not with fire. Mine was yellow and purple, which have ever since been my favorite sentimental combination of colors. (Now, unsentimentally, I go for red and gray or dark green.) David's favorite combo is green and purple. So I guess our end-time balloon will have to be yellow, green, and purple.

One day, I'd love to go to Albuquerque and watch the balloon festival. Who knows, maybe we'll do a little shopping.

No comments:

Post a Comment