Random Thoughts

Garrulous Geriatrics

There is definitely a problem in handling old people. Please believe me; I myself am an oldie and I write this based on my personal experiences. It is not an indictment but looks like or seems to be a natural phenomenon.

Talking too much; garrulous without sagacity; without sense of time; not understanding the tolerance levels of the listening person or state of mind. It is a monotonous rain of words without break. The sentences leap out without period, question mark, exclamation point, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, brackets, braces, parentheses, apostrophe, quotation mark, and ellipsis. (Pardon me for my exaggeration!) If not all, definitely no period, comma, colon, semicolon or full stop.

Recently, I got a call from my very, very old house owner’s daughter of nearly four and half decades. Quite a long time and long stories waiting, aren’t they? Yes. There were. In the first day conversation I could cover many of the items as I too remember their family and near family circle. Indeed, very nice and lovable people I have come across in my life.

Yes. The long duration has brought several changes, families have expanded, some old persons have passed away, children have moved abroad as per the present gen conditions…

All fine. The first two conversations went off with great affection, interest and care. But, from the third instalment it started turning a bit stale. The insignificant events, the usual shrouded comments about daughter-in-law, son and health issues; dragging the conversation from one topic to some irrelevant branch incidents, insignificant trivia, the usual lament on ageing issues make one squirm. Many times, some repeat the same matter when I speak to them after a few month’s gap. I also must be doing it.

A person needs to understand that the one listening also is an old man. But, that happens. Why others? I myself consciously felt that I had a tendency to yap a lot if I got a victim. Even I did it yesterday to my close friend. Talking about my past, job, events, likes, dislikes, books, present etc… I know many times the matters do not interest the listener. Yet, some force/energy or enthusiasm pushes me to keep talking. At some stage, I realized and put a full stop. Alas, by that time the damage had been done1

Am I not trying to accuse the other oldies of the same sickness I have? LOL!


More by :  G Swaminathan

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