You Know You’re Getting Old When….

Originally published three years ago elsewhere

Don’t you just love it when something occurs in your life and it suddenly dawns on you – I’m getting old. Of course we all know we are getting older but there always comes an event to confirm it.

Now take me for example – I will be 70 next year. (now remember, this was more than 3 years ago) I don’t think I look 70. I’m still reasonably trim and have a full head of hair. I think I look better than o lot of 70 year olds I see walking around. I live with my cat, keep a nice home, blog, write poetry.

Sure shit happens. As far as health is concerned I sincerely believe that we get up in the morning and everything works until one morning we get up and something doesn’t work. That’s the way life goes. Last November I was fine until over a weekend I went blind. Needed surgery to restore my vision. Another evening I was watching TV until I was suddenly in pain. Kidney stone.

Still, while we know our chronological age it sometimes takes an event to put you in your proper place.

Yesterday I went out my front door and spotted it – trouble.

My car had a flat tire. Right front. Damn.

I have been procrastinating about tires since January. Since I only drive locally and not on high speed highways I have been nursing the baldies along. I’ll get them next month.

Well I had a flat. Of course I am not a member of AAA. That’s for sissies and girls. I know cars and I maintain mine well.

So now I have a flat.

Ok.  I will change the tire and head off to Tires Plus for four new ones.

It’s a plan.

Thinking about changing the tire I realized I haven’t changed a tire since 2004 and before that 1995. So its been a while. No matter.

I am man. Me can change tire!!

So it’s approaching the 90s outside yesterday morning with lots of humidity. I go to the driveway, block the wheels, set the emergency brake and take out the necessary tools and the donut spare.

I am surprised at how heavy the donut feels. First indication you are getting old.

Next I need to loosen the lug nuts.  Hahaha. The Goddess of the Elderly is laughing at me. Loosening lug nuts was never difficult before. Are they making ‘em tighter now?  Sweat begins pouring over me from the exertion and the heat.  Damn these lug nuts!

I tell myself “I can loosen these!!”. I go back in the air conditioned house and get a towel to protect my hands while I exert maximum pressure on the lug wrench. Slowly the nuts begin to loosen. More sweat. Heavy breathing. Veins in my neck are bulging.  Stroke time.  My lower back is beginning to hurt.  Ok – lug nuts are loosened.

Next jack up the car. Just rotate the jack handle to the right and the car goes up. Right. Easier said than done. It used to be so simple.  They don’t make jacks like they use to!!

Get the car high enough to remove the tire. I thought the donut was heavy. The tire and wheel seems to weigh a ton. More sweat. My back aches.

Take a break in the house. I can’t believe this is so difficult!

Back outside. Put the donut on the car. Can’t lift it from a deep knee position. Can’t get up from a deep knee position. Bend over from the waist. More back ache.

Jack the car up to just the right height so the wheel and the lugs line up perfectly. Quick, put a lug nut on with fingers. Get the lug nuts on.

Another break. Jeez it’s hot out there. Sweat drenching everything.

Back outside. Tighten the lug nuts. Pulling on the back again with the lug wrench.  Getting really sore.  Let down the car. Donut is low on air since I haven’t checked it in  five years.

Quick shower and dry clothes.  Shorts and underwear soaked with sweat.

Quick to the gas station. Put air in Donut. Drive to Tires Plus.

Must be giving away free tires. Two and a half hours later I sitting in my recliner. Stiff as a board.  I can barely move.

Heating pad. It’s gonna be worse tomorrow. It is.

I have come to realize in very stark terms what I used to be able to do so easily can now only be done with extreme difficulty if at all.  I am now officially old.

I told my daughter of my adventure last evening. She yelled at me.

You old fool! What are you doing changing tires??

This morning she bought me a AAA membership.

I am officially forbidden to change a tire again.



About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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10 Responses to You Know You’re Getting Old When….

  1. I got rid of this problem by getting rid of my car – and I have heaps more storage space in my garage.


  2. beetleypete says:

    I am a member of RAC ( Royal Autombile Club, like your AAA) but would normally change a tyre myself. Except I don’t have one anymore! My car has no spare, just a puncture repair kit, and a tyre inflator. The kit is just some stuff that you pump inside, to effect a temporary repair, and a tiny compressor, to put in enough air to get you home.
    I will be calling the RAC. Let them earn their £112 ($176) a year, I say.
    Best wishes, Pete.


    • toritto says:

      Pete – L112 a year!!!! Geez!! Pretty expensive, Who comes to change the tire – Prince Harry?




      • beetleypete says:

        That’s the top service, with anytime use, home attendance, and relay for car and passengers from anywhere in the UK. You can get it much cheaper; for just the basic service, it’s £38 a year. For that money though , you only get a Baron to change the wheel!
        Best wishes, Pete.


  3. I love this story. It brought back funny memories of the last time I tried to change a tire – all 110 pounds of me jumping up and down on the tire iron with no effect. I’m sure it was a funny sight to the drivers passing by on the interstate at 85 miles an hour.


  4. 🙂 I used to build houses. Now I can barely wash my feet in the shower.


  5. sojourner says:

    After reading your post and the comments above, I can see I am not alone after all.

    I’m only 65, and I know better than to attempt a tire change. I hate emergency rooms and stays in the hospital!;-)


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