Ostomy Memories of a Night Out


WE DECIDED TO EAT OUT the other night and we went to a little Italian restaurant we’d only just discovered.  The place opened at 4 PM and we arrived about ten minutes early.  There was a little porch area in the front and, as we hurried through the rain from our car, there were about a half dozen people already waiting for it to open.  A couple about 35 to 40 years of age was sitting on a bench and, the moment they spotted us approaching, they leapt to their feet and offered us the bench.  Fortunately, I was able to bury my immediate reaction, which was to utter a profanity.  Geez, do I look that old?!  The great writer Gabriel Garcia Márquez has a scene in his ‘Memories of My Melancholy Whores’ that goes: “The truth is I’m getting old, I said.  We already are old, she said with a sigh.  What happens is that you don’t feel it on the inside, but from the outside everybody can see it.”  That captured our experience exactly, but I am still fixated over it.  My wife is 75 and I am a few months short of 80.  But we rarely feel our age.  Just typing our ages here, in this post, is making me feel creepy.  We were 20 and 25 years old when we got married… just a few weeks ago.


Some seniors like this type of "kindness/respect" from the young whipper-snappers, but I agree with you, Henry - don't really want anybody noticing I'm old when in fact I am feeling otherwise.

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Henry, how long was that trip on the Mayflower?


This seems like a timely post as today my wife, myself and my daughter have just returned from a trip to a nature reserve where there was a fee for admission. The guy taking the money asked if there was anyone in our party who might be eligible for an over-sixties discounted ticket. I outwardly laughed, thanked him for his complement, and asked him if my daughter would qualify as she was well over over 50 ! Jovially, he replied that he was obliged to ask.

Best wishes


Reply to AlexT

I was in steerage, passed out most of the time, so I couldn't say, AlexT. 

Stories of Living Life to the Fullest from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister
Reply to Bill

It's almost sad, in today's world, that seniors get freebies and discounts when, in fact, many have worked and saved a lifetime to afford some of these things. Seems as though a lot of young people need these freebies - times are rough for them. I have two 20's+ granddaughters with college educations that struggle to pursue their goals.

Reply to Justbreathe

Hello Justbreathe.

I agree, it's 'almost' sad. However, whilst there are some older people who can afford these things, there are many more who have worked hard all their lives but have been unable to save in the same way that people who are paid a decent wage are able to. 

I would argue that nobody ( including older people) 'need' the sorts of things that people give discounts on. There are only three basic 'needs':  food; warmth and love. All the other things are what people 'want' rather than need.

At present, there are many people, young and old, who are deficient in these three basic needs. This is much more to do with politicians and the distorted morals of our society than it is to do with businesses offering discounts. 

The generation and 'class' in which I grew up never had 'discounts' because we could not afford the goods and services  in the first place. Hence a cursory glance at todays societies might indicate that we do not seem to have progressed very far as the 'haves' have, and the 'have-nots' are still in much the same position as they have always been. 

Best wishes



Most of the "well off" seniors I know are always looking/asking for a deal/discount. All the seniors I know who are not so "well off" never ask/look for anything special.


Hi Henry, you might not have liked being reminded of your 'senior' status, but I would have been quite pleasantly surprised and grateful to have some young people offer me their chair, whether I needed it or not. On rare occasions, I've had young people offer me a chair, in a doctor's office, for instance, and I've always declined but shown them my appreciation. I find this kind of consideration for others to be sadly lacking in today's youth, so I'm happy to hear it's not completely dead. I recently was sitting in my doctor's waiting room, with every chair full, when a very pregnant mother with a small child in one of those carry things, and another toddler in tow, came in. She was struggling to keep control of the toddler and find a place to put the baby. A young twenty-something man sat there absorbed in his phone and totally ignored her, even though she was right in front of him. Several other people there were much younger than me but stayed put as well. I finally got up and offered her my chair, which she gratefully accepted. She was not an 'old' person, but the same rule I learned about consideration for others still applies here. There doesn't seem to be much of it around anymore.



In recent years, there was a trend towards people being angry and insulted if a person held a door open or offered a seat, etc. I've heard and read anecdotes from people who got a verbal slap on the wrist for being thoughtful enough to offer up a seat or hold a door for someone. I do both when the occasion presents, and nobody ever complained or gave me "the Look" (how dare you make an assumption!!). I have seen the doctor's office scenario many times. In the doctor's office, I would just get up to stretch my legs and give a little nod to the person needing a seat, and they generally would just give a little smile and sit down. This way, there's no implication... "you're old or weak" or whatever the thought might be... the seat is there if you want it. Just yesterday at the pharmacy, I held the door to let a woman go before me, and she just smiled and said thank you... no bad feelings intended or received.

Simple courtesy costs nothing, and a gesture of kindness should not be answered with a disgusted look or a grunt of displeasure! But then I'm only a "young fella" among all you "ould codgers" out there, so never had the pleasure or displeasure!! LOL!! When (if??) I'm 90, I reserve the right to change my mind and/or reaction. Magoo

So far, nobody has offered me a seat, so no experience on the other side of the fence.


Many moons ago when I rode the pretty nasty and dangerous New York Subway of the late 70s/80s, you always had to take a defensive stance for your own safety, especially at night. Making eye contact...with anyone could get you killed, literally. Think "Taxi Driver", the movie. This was really more of a documentary rather than a movie!!! The movie captured the general mood of NYC at the time perfectly!!

The defensive approach to the risky evening subway trip took a few forms. 1) Stare ahead at a spot over the head of the person sitting across the aisle...pick a spot and lock your neck in place!! 2) Elbows on knees, head in hands, apparently deep in thought...but always keep an eye out for weirdness. 3) Make like you are the crazy one!! Always works!! Just forget the idea of anyone ever giving you a seat!!

A friend from Ireland had his own technique perfected!! He would stand in front of a sitter and stare down at them right into their face and grunt now and then or say some nonsensical words at random. Within minutes, the guy (not women) would move from the seat. He then would scan the other people around and they would move. He would take a seat and had nobody within 3 seats on either side of his seat!!! Any POS looking for trouble would be scared to go near him!! He was the nicest guy you could ever meet but this was his unique "Defensive Strategy" and it worked.

He tried to impart his learned wisdom to his 'Just off the Boat' younger brother but he didn't listen!! His brother was on the D Train to The Bronx from Lower Manhattan after work. Not sure if he had a few pints after work or was just exhausted in the punishing temperatures. He committed the mortal sin of falling asleep on the train. When he got to his stop and woke up everything seemed fine. Pretty soon he noticed that the pockets of his jacket and pants were GONE!!! Someone used...probably a razor blade to carefully cut the pockets out along with the paycheck he had just cashed!!! Lucky for him he didn't wake up or he definitely would have been murdered instantly!! NY is different now...much better. As they say in the military...his "Situational Awareness" was seriously deficient and did not improve with time. He returned to Ireland after a year...a very wise move!! Probably saved his life.

On any subway at night, never end up in a car that is occupied by only you!!! My very street-wise niece almost got her throat cut after making that mistake. New York has become so much safer and so much cleaner now, even after dark!!

I don't live there anymore so current residents may disagree about NYC after the past two years and the economy being what it was and is!!??


Reply to Mayoman

Hello Magoo.

Thanks for your interesting accounts of NYC and ‘situational awareness’.

It reminds me of one time when I felt I was being followed in New York. I ducked into a little shop selling firearms. The shopkeeper asked if I wanted anything and I explained that I had only gone into the shop as a precaution against a stalker. He gave me all sorts of good advice about  ‘situational awareness’ and kindly gave me a bulky bag to put in my jacket  inside pocket to make it look as if I had just purchased a gun (kindness is obviously still alive and well – even in NY). I took his advice and strode out of there with an air of determination and confidence, trying  to avoid looking like a tourist.

The guy who had been following me was no longer around!

However, this sort of thing can happen anywhere in the world:

I worked for a while in Hackney (London), on one occasion,  I was walking to my hospital base when a man walked beside me and asked for my  money. I declined and continued walking.  He began making veiled threats about what might happen to me if I did not do as he requested. I continued walking, casually yet calmly informing him that the last person who attacked me ended up in hospital for more than six months. As we were almost at the hospital I quipped that we were in the right place and, at least he would be able to get instant attention if he wished to turn aggressive at this point. All this conversation was conducted with more than a hint of light-hearted banter, but with obvious sinister undertones. There was no physical attack upon me and we parted company at the doors to the hospital.

PS: I am not one to be deceitful in these sort of matters, but the story of the guy I put into hospital for six months was entirely true.  However, at the time I was part of the community mental health team and the patient was suffering from a mental illness, which was why he needed so long as an inpatient. His attack on me was relatively  minor and my response was not in any way physical, but to talk him into accepting treatment.

Best wishes



I went to a small boarding school run by an English lady called Miss Birch's School. In the assembly one morning, she mentioned me and said she had seen me offer my chair to one of the girl students, and that was the proper thing to do. There were other English principals of some schools here like Mr. Hugh Catchpole. Cast in the mold of Mr. Chipping, the headmaster in "Goodbye, Mr. Chips". Sadly, that kind of schooling is a thing of the past. Their interest in your progress in life did not end when you graduated. However, I think Miss Birch would have disapproved of some of the wild things we got up to. A student, an Anglo-Pakistani, moved with his family to Canada. He later came back as the Canadian ambassador to this country. I met him when he was posted here.

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