When you get to 80 + you will discover it. That pause, that uncertain minute when you have managed to get to your feet after sitting a while.
It isnt pain, quite, but feels it might be. It isnt balance, though it is certainly an uncertainty. It is definitely a feeling that those rusty knees are going to complain and collapse. You dont trust them! You really cant. They are telling you so, firmly.
We all say it. Quite precisely too. “It takes me a minute to get moving” And it does.
No idea of the cause, but wriggling whilst sitting doesnt prevent it. It is a weight bearing problem. The moment they feel gravity, the Knees are on strike. “Dont” they scream “ Dont you dare move!” Threats of unknown horrors form worrying clouds.
So what do you do?
OK at home. You can just stay there until the Knees say ‘Yes’.
But in a restaurant? Well, you absolutely have to look in your handbag dont you? Maybe refile your credit card. Anything reasonable will do.
What about the train or the plane, all those people in a rush to get off and you blocking the aisle? Not on is it. You have to stay put. And then they are terribly nice and say ‘After you’. You equally politely demur and say “I’m rather slow”. But they are insistent and you are undone…everyone waits on the Knees….
And the Theatre! All rushing for the bar, you too if you could. You have to get up for them, but then cant move! Stuck….feeling silly, standing there for no apparent reason. So you have to invent one.
Ah, that jacket sleeve needs adjusting, you have mislaid your programme, you need to ask your companion something urgent, like choosing between Prosecco and Chard. Or even searching for money. At worst, kick your shoe off and get someone kind to find it for you…Depends upon which feels the less embarassing.
We shouldnt need to be embarrassed though should we? It should be understood. One of the things you need as you age is a little more time. And we should expect it, we have earned it!
Most of us of course turn it into a joke. If you see a gaggle of old ladies laughing as they get up from a cafe table you might bet it is about knees. Possibly whose creak loudest…
There is one warning though. Take it seriously at night. Getting out of bed and the same phenomenon can happen. No chair or seat back then to hang on to. And darkness makes it worse. Plan ahead: light on and a firm bedside table.
In the meantime, go every where, do anything, but allow the Knees their break. They have earned it too.
And you are living the bonus years.
PS Look at this image. Even once the Knees let you move, are they going to get you up those steps without a rail! Ageism in Theatres?