I have for a very long time tried to come up with a topic to write about for KZINE. However, being sick in the flu for the past week has given me some time to reflect and think things over (there is not much to do when you lie in bed for four days straight with nearly 40 degrees fever).
While I’ve been sick I have been staying with my grandparents as they have been the only people able to take care of me at the moment. During this time I have been given the opportunity to really understand what it is like to be a senior citizen, and to tell you the truth… it freaks me the f*ck out! All their habits are annoying, from the way they always lay the table for breakfast the night before to their precise and specific meal times. My grandpa even places his toast in the toaster before he starts eating breakfast but he waits to toast it until twenty minutes later as if that will spare him time? Not like he is a busy man sorry to say…
Their conversations are always so boring. Their absolute biggest hobby of all time is to spy on the neighbours and gossip about how Märta is having difficulties walking down to “köpcentrumet” with her walker and how Stig has already put on his balcony lights despite it only being four o’clock! We teenagers gossip all the time but our gossip, even though it might lack some intellectual properties, is at least interesting. I know we speak too loudly on the subway but pensioners do too, and if I was a public transport commuter, I know which conversation I’d tune in on. Thats another thing, you always have to scream when communicating with old people and don’t even dare watch TV with them, the volume will be so high that you can practically be considered deaf before the show is even over.
Old people always have radical views because they believe everything they read and hear on the news. My grandparents are the most genuinely nice, loving and caring people in the whole world but because of media they believe that every muslim is practically a terrorist or that if you get vaccinated against the swine flu your life is paved to be slept through for all eternity as everyone who takes it will end up with narcolepsy.
Besides all these small, annoying habits which are just minor collisions between generations there is a far more disturbing and heartbreaking issue dividing the young and the old. As I’ve been lying in bed like a dying man in the Sahara my grandma has been receiving a few phone calls. Of course I can’t hear the person on the other line but judging by the tone of my gran’s voice and the way she mutters: “Mmmm… nooo… that’s a shame. How is Lars dealing with the loss? Yes I see… oh… so Kerstin didn’t even recognize her own daughter the last few weeks? That’s sad… okay… so it is to be held in the Klara chapel? Yes I’ll find my way, I’ve been there before…”
It is just that last sentence: I’ve been there before. Everything from friends dying, to relatives getting dementia, to funerals, to doctor appointments and all different types of illnesses. The story of sadness never ends but my grandparents have experienced it before, this isn’t something new. This is a part of their life. I know school can really suck sometimes and the pressure is unbearable but bear with me! (say in Sudershan accent) We are young, we have our whole lives ahead of us. And even though we have no clue what we want to do in the future, at least we have a choice unlike senior citizens who already made their choices several decades ago.
Cajsa Pettersson | 17 Feb
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