The challenges of aging are mounting and so is my level of frustration

Do childproof caps sometimes defeat you or is it just me? It’s one thing to not understand how to operate all our electronic devices but when childproof tops become insurmountable we could have a problem. It happened to me this week when I tried to clean my toilet.

The object of my frustration!

I’ve had this problem before and usually manage to eventually figure things out but not this time. The nipple-like top on the bottle of Lysol toilet bowl cleaner is cleverly designed to be inoperable to anyone except the very strong and the never-give-up types, of which I am neither. Usually, when I am unable to get the top to release the cleaning gel, I just grab another cleaner, usually something in an idiot-proof spray bottle which I can usually operate without being totally humiliated.

This time, when I could not get the desired result no matter how hard I squeezed the ridges and turned counter-clockwise, it would not budge. The entire lid contraption would also not unscrew to allow me to just pour the liquid directly from the bottle. Its secret code remained in the vault as did my now urgently needed blue gel. So, I decided to do what any resourceful baby boomer would do; I deemed it defective and went to the store to buy a new one that would surely work the way it should.

When I got home, once again, I followed the manufacturer’s instructions precisely, even using a magnifying glass to ensure I wasn’t missing a vital clue. The new one would not open either. Being the tech-savvy woman of the millennium that I am, I then resorted to YouTube to confirm I was doing everything right. According to all the experts I was, but nothing was working. Who knew cleaning my toilet would be so challenging.

When my husband came home, I asked him to have a go. After several minutes of squeezing, twisting, banging, and offering to cut the plastic bottle open and pour the contents into another container, he finally figured out the squeeze-and-twist sequence using the secret NASA-designed mathematical pressure equation needed to make it cooperate and we had ignition. I will never close that nipple again. The contents will dry up before I put myself through this stress again. At my age, I can’t take it.

Could you unlock the car door for me? Pretty please?

We’ve all found ourselves banging pill bottles on the counter to try and gain access when the push-and-pop thing won’t release. Electronic car door locks can be mystifying to anyone who is not the owner of the car. How many times have we stood at the passengers’ side banging on the window and yelling “Let me in”?  Even owning the car is no guarantee. We once owned a particular vehicle for more than a year before we discovered the door lock controls were on the dashboard of all places, not on the door, which would be too logical. It pays to read the manual.

Our electronic devices keep us in a state of continual bewilderment and it’s unfortunate the grandchildren do not visit more often to help us sort them out. It’s amazing I’ve managed to progress beyond DOS and dial-up internet. I still keep a running list of computer software issues that I turn over to a third party to sort out for me on a regular basis. I’m rather proud of the fact I recently learned how to deposit cheques on my iPad but I will never master my cell phone’s full capabilities.

Please! No! Not only can I not figure out how to open it, but I can’t read the small print and massive menu choices on my phone!

Even dining out is now a potential enemy. The other day I decided to pop into a trendy-looking new restaurant for lunch. When I couldn’t find a menu, I noticed a QR-code sticker on the table indicating I was to look up their menu on my phone. Yikes!! After several failed attempts I summoned the waitress who seemed a bit irritated that I couldn’t figure out their QR code thingie so she brought me a proper hard-copy menu.

My existential distress was further heightened when I perused the menu, the real one, the hard copy. I discovered I was in a new Turkish restaurant and all the foods on the menu were completely “foreign” to me. I had no idea what to order but the restaurant was lovely so I didn’t want to leave. They even brought me a pretty little glass of hot tea. Not wanting to further embarrass myself or annoy the waitress any more than I already had, I just pointed to the next table and uttered those famous words, “I’ll have what she’s having!”. It still works.

I’m muddling through but life is getting way too complicated for those of us who aren’t as sharp as we once were. Even though my dad was still cutting his own lawn and shoveling snow into his nineties, he would often become frustrated that he couldn’t do things to the degree he did when he was young. I’m now facing the same dilemma but my struggles are more technological than physical. I long ago accepted my physical limitations.

There is some consolation in telling myself that my brain is so crammed full of wisdom and knowledge from a life well-lived that I’m actually smarter than all those Gen X, Y, and Z’ers will ever be. I’ll just keep repeating that mantra as I struggle with life’s ongoing challenges. But, those challenges are mounting and my brain can only process so much data before it starts dumping important RAM . . . or should that be ROM?

In the olden days when I was still working and we encountered a problem, I used to say that challenges are opportunities in disguise. What a load of crap! I’m done with the challenges. The one consolation is that when I can’t get my bottle of Lysol to cooperate, I can always resort to an old-fashioned boomer-friendly spray cleaner. I may not be able to use my cell phone properly or order food using a QR code, but I have no excuse for not having a clean toilet. And, for that, I am truly proud. Right? Right!




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10 months ago

I feel your pain. I ran into the same problem with opening the toilet bowl cleaner. I don’t clean my toilets anymore. End of story!