Thursday, 26 August 2021

Too old?

Now I know I'm getting old. 

It's not because of the flabby bat-wing skin on my arms or the way I sometimes doze off in the afternoon. It's because a pharmacist in a large outlet of a well-known chemist refused to sell me a self-testing UTI kit and his reason: "I'm sorry, Madam, but you're too old."

Too old to test my own urine! Does he think that I'll fall and hurt myself when assuming the position or that I'll miss the bottle, wee on the floor and slip on all the vast amounts of liquid? As you can guess, I was incensed. 

The reason for wanting to buy my own testing kit was that the GPs are reluctant to test for UTIs since Covid. However, after much persuasion I was tested, have almost finished the course of antibiotics and am feeling much better, thank you for asking.

This was my first experience of ageism - not so with sexism. I grew up long before the #metoo culture. I hope this movement has improved life for women but sexism was a part of our lives back in the day, especially at work. One incident of many sticks out in my memory. I was a teacher governor and the only woman on the Board of Governors. During one meeting the Head told me to go and make the tea for everyone. I lowered my voice and muttered in his ear, "Go and make it yourself." He did. It was a bit of a risk job-wise but what a cheek!

As I say, I hope society has moved on since those days. I have noticed that recently, when I park a car, men no longer say, "Well done!" I am a driver. It's what drivers do and I have been driving for a scarily long time - 54 years. Which brings me back to ageism. I have not been on public transport since before Covid but I suspect when I start using buses again I will now be offered a seat by some young and sickeningly energetic person. I will, of course, accept the seat offer graciously but that 'young girl' inside me will balk, just momentarily, and then I'll sit down with the obligatory exclamation of, "Ooof" and gratefully take the weight off my poor old aching feet.

We can't fight the ageing process and I am trying to grow old gracefully, I'm not yet wearing purple with hats that don't go, but I am still at a loss to understand why a retail pharmacist refused to sell me a UTI testing kit because of my age.


  1. Yes, and no. This morning I was at the local hospital getting X-rayed...not X-rated which would be more scurrilous and probably more that yet another symptom of my co-morbidity can be diagnosed. For a brief moment, I felt old. This afternoon my lovely wife and I were 'doing a recce' at the wedding venue we're playing at on set, one hour, some slushy songs plus Billy Idol's 'White Wedding'. By chance it's our anniversary today, 49 thank you, plus some pre-marriage time before that. There was a wedding on at the venue today, and it looked like a fab event, and we chatted with some smokers and sneakers away for a bit...none of them believed we were that old, none of them believed we had 49 married years under our non-elasticated belts. Good isn't it. So for the better part of today, we have been feeling rather young. Weird, this yin-yang perception. Time to practice a Beatles song for Monday's set. And Ros? She's forever young.

    1. Well happy anniversary, young man, for you must remember that I am most definitely older than you... but thanks for the complement. I'll take that ;-)

  2. No wonder you were incensed! What a cheek to say you were too old to test yourself! Acknowledging I am older has been something I’ve lived with ever since I decided to let my hair go grey. Almost overnight, people’s attitude to me changed. I was upset at the time, but I’m used to it now, Ros. In fact, I welcome the offers of seats on the tram on the way to the university where I teach. It can be a very rocky ride when you have to stand all the way. By the way, I definitely think you are graceful, ageing or not.

    1. Hi Val, Strange how people respond differently to women according to their hair colour. I let my hair go grey gradually quite a few years ago now. Was so glad I'd done it during lockdown!! Every now and then I get the urge to go blonde - again people respond to blonde - blonde girls have more fun etc etc - but I manage to resist it. I was a brunette in the old days - almost black - but I'd look positively ill if I tried to replicate that. So I'm happy with my natural grey and also welcome the offer of seats on public transport etc.

    2. I also started off with nearly black hair. Apparently, those of us who start life very dark are more likely to go grey early. That's what my hairdresser told me, anyway. I did and was completely grey by the time I was 35. I never tried going blonde, but I did dye my hair for some years. It was when I started living on a boat that I decided to let nature have its way. It became far too much hassle to keep colouring it!


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