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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Midstokke: Too old for this

By Ammi Midstokke The Spokesman-Review

Sometimes, we pretend to be younger than we are and life reminds us that, despite a lack of maturity and an affinity toward cartoons, our bodies are actually aging.

The most obvious indication that one is aging is the frequency of how often we utter, “I’m too old for this.” Surprisingly, my list of what I am too old for is growing at a rapid rate and now includes things like waiting in line, commercials and nylons.

Recently, I was in the city with a (much younger) friend who suggested we go to “speakeasy” after dinner. This is a youthful and trendy term applied to any kind of bar that wants to sound discreet or nefarious, as if those things offered an elitism to the place. As she descended down a pair of stairs behind a presumed adolescent in a miniskirt, I sheepishly asked if we were in the right place. I’m not opposed to miniskirts. I’m opposed to miniskirts in temperatures below 75 degrees.

The bouncer did not card me. Indeed, he looked as confused as I was, almost concerned for my well-being.

As if all these markers were not indication enough, the minute I stepped into the booming, banging, thumping, thudding, vibrating, gyrating hole of a bar, my Apple watch began alarming me that the noise levels were unsafe.

My Apple watch is set to alert me to all kinds of age-related concerns. On several occasions, it has detected a fall and lit up asking if it should call emergency services for me. It has a built in ECG and heart monitor. And before one should think this is an advertisement for a product that basically serves as an overzealous home health nurse, let me note how annoying all of those little alerts are.

According to my watch, I am a catastrophe waiting to happen.

It tells me to stand up every hour if I’ve been sitting too long. Try as I might, the thing does not subscribe to the belief that writing is best done in a sitting position and sometimes in a napping position. It also vibrates to let me know I am too stressed and really ought to take a few moments to breathe deeply. It’s like having a pretentious yoga teacher strapped to my wrist all day.

I fall prey to many things data-driven and data-driving because society tells us that if we look at the data and check all the boxes, we’ll never be too old for anything until we’re too old to be relevant anyway. Unless, of course, one is running for an elected office, in which case the data become irrelevant.

This I do know: I’m too old to go to a bar that is too young to be calling itself a speakeasy.

While visiting my approaching-centenarian grandmother recently, I was surprised by her lack of data-driven living. At her age, she seems to be too old to give a darn about anything other than whether the bird feeders are full or the Packers are winning. Case in point, when she vaguely complained of fatigue, I asked if we ought to check her oxygen levels, seeing as her tank was humming 24/7 and she had an oximeter right next to her. Not that she uses it.

“Well look at that,” she said as we pondered her slightly-above-cardiac-arrest O2 levels. She didn’t seem too concerned, even when we found the long split in her oxygen tube. It’s regularly tromped on while she avoids tripping over her anxious lap dog. No one is ever too old for a lap dog.

“I might well have expired,” she said, though she didn’t sound concerned about that either. I’m pretty sure my grandmother lives on oatmeal molasses cookies, low oxygen levels, watered-down coffee and books.

She’s too old to be bothered – by things out of her control, by matters that are trifling, by how many vegetables she should eat. And that is exactly how old I want to get.

Ammi Midstokke can be contacted at