Affronts to Old People #10 – Being Treated like a Moron, a Baby or a Household Pet
Earlier this week I attended my Doctor’s office to have him take a gander at my latest mole.
Visiting Dr. Shand for a mole check is a regular event for me and generally makes for a decent afternoon outing. His waiting room is tastefully appointed, well populated with infirm seniors and has a fine selection of magazines from the 1950s. Throw in some wine and cheese and it would be a damned decent cocktail party.
In fact, the only drawback to a visit with Doctor Shand is his receptionist, Doris.
I don’t care for generalizations but young people tend to fall into one of two categories – those that are terrified of seniors and avoid them at all costs and those that treat old people like damned babies and fawn all over them. While I can tolerate the former, Doris is a prime example of the type of pandering nincompoop that falls firmly in the second group – and who really chap my ass.
From the moment I enter the office Doris is all over me – yanking the coat off my back, calling me “sweetie”, asking if I have a “boo boo” and generally treating me like some feckless 5-year old who’s lodged a handful of coins up his nose and can’t get them out. It’s demeaning and humiliating – especially coming from some dimwitted young person whose primary responsibility is to refrigerate urine samples.
I don’t know why it is but it seems that as soon as you hit eighty, people give up any pretence of treating you as an equal and start speaking to you in combination of gibberish and baby talk as though you’re some wildly incompetent, overgrown toddler. Honestly, you half expect them to whip out a breast and offer you lunch for Christ’s sake.
They stick their damned foolish heads 6 inches away from you, grin like a complete idiot and then – assuming you’re deaf as a post – proceed to scream in your face at the top of their lungs. Well, it may come as a surprise but not all old people are hard of hearing. In fact, very few of us are. Most are just fed up with listening to idiotic young people and have decided to tune them the Hell out.
And if the baby talk and yelling weren’t bad enough, the Doris’s of the world always feel the need to put their hands all over me as well – pinching my damned cheeks, patting me on the head, rubbing my “tummy.” I’m an old man for Christ’s sake, not the Buddha. If you feel compelled to molest something go buy yourself a cat and leave decent God-fearing old people alone.
Look, I understand that in most cases these people are just trying to be helpful but treating an 80-year old man like a child or a household pet is insulting, degrading and damned presumptuous.
So do me a favour. The next time you want to be “helpful” why don’t you show me some respect and assume I have all my faculties intact until I prove you wrong. If you’re lucky, I may just extend the same courtesy to you.