Maybe Stairs Should Be Banned

You know you are getting older when….Today was moving day for my kids, one packing up and moving to another place, another moving to an apartment nearby. That meant the old man was on the job with the van, transporting furniture etc from one place to another. However, my participation was limited to driving, and actually Wendy drove come to think of it. I basically went along for the drive like a big old labrador retriever getting to go for a car ride.

As the frigging years pile on the stuff your kids let you do lessens. They do the lifting and lugging, you get to do stuff like unlock the door and hold it open, or tell them where to lay the bookcase down or plug in a new lamp….yup….the days of heavy lifting seem to be numbered.

Now I am not complaining. I never was really fond of carrying beds and cabinets, recliner chairs and couches up three flights of stairs, around a couple of corners and down a hallway. It’s no longer on my bucket list. But there was a time when I used to do that kind of thing, and for all intents and purposes, nobody ever said, “Slow down” or “I’ve got this Rob, you get the door.” Now they do….

Being young and in the shape of an athlete my daughter didn’t think anything of choosing an apartment on the third floor of a building with no elevator. I wouldn’t have either. Wendy and I had an apartment on the third floor of a building once ourselves and never noticed. We liked the view. These days I prefer the view of the parking lot from eye level.

It doesn’t hurt that Wendy is also keeping an eye on me, reminding the kids that “Your father shouldn’t be lifting that.” and reminding me to “Get out of the way and let the young ones do it.” as she goes by with a television cabinet in her arms while I am holding the door.

It’s actually twofold, on the one hand, kind of nice to see your kids step in and take over, see them do the heavy lifting and see the concern on their faces as your eyes bulge and your face gets red when you try to lift a lamp and carry it up three flights of stairs. On the other hand, it is a painful reminder of the inevitable, a slap-in-the-face-reality-check type of thing that you are no longer young, not old yet, but not young. You know that because there is someone young who is there to do it as they pass you on the stairs carrying a television and box of china dishes taking the stairs two or three at a time.

The reality is that I am getting to an age when, although I can still take the stairs two at a time, (at least the first two) I much prefer the ease of an elevator, to the point that I kind of think stairs should be banned, or at least have a warning sign much like cigarettes that says something like, “Climbing these stairs might kill you. Older persons should use caution” That’s only going up, what about all the folks who have been hurt or killed falling down the stairs? Happens frequently. Yup, we gotta get rid of stairs.

As I rounded the turn on the third or 15th landing (I couldn’t be sure) at my daughter’s apartment I quietly wondered how many old people had collapsed and died right there on the landing. I looked around to see if there was a heart defibulator on the wall anywhere, not that I needed one, but it would have been a comfort nonetheless. All I saw was a fire extinquisher. I briefly considered using it to soak myself down to cool. With no defibulator in sight, I stopped and let the young men carrying the living room chairs pass me, while I pretended to be taking in the view from the window on the landing and wondered if the window was there so old people like me could stall, look out the window and gather up their nerve to take the next flight of stairs carrying a heavy….um…table lamp….shade….

All is not lost though, when I move to the old folks home….er….senior citizens complex….err…Shady Acres….I am going to make my children help me move. With any luck I will be on the third floor…..

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