Tag Archives: old lady

Going slowly

You know how when you acquire something new and seemingly unusual – might be a purple bicycle or a blue pair of shoes – and then suddenly start seeing the same item everywhere around you? Well, I have something like that going on with walking frames on wheels, or rollators, as I now know they are called. I haven’t gone out and bought one, but I did have an encounter with one the other day. An encounter that makes me look at them differently…

I was pushing my zero suspension pram along one of Berlin’s hobbledy cobbledy narrow pavements, when I saw a crooked old lady with a rollator (that word again) inching her way towards me. One of us was going to have to stop to let the other pass, and it made sense that it should be me. I watched and waited, but instead of continuing on her way, she stopped too, and looked up at me, her frown giving way to crinkly warmth.

“Do you keep getting stuck too?” she asked. “This surface is terrible for my wheels.” Realising she was referring to my pram, I told her it generally managed all right. But it seemed from her expression as if that she had hoped I would give her a different response, and that she wanted us – regardless of our age or situational difference – to have something in common. So I let her have it.

“I sometimes get stuck in the park though, on all the protruding tree roots,” I ventured. She sighed. “The park! Oh I can’t even go into the park.” Perhaps she had not been seeking commonality after all. Perhaps it was me that sought it. I wasn’t sure where to take our exchange next. She was poised to shuffle off, but it didn’t seem right to say nothing more, so I offered her an admittedly lame: “Go slowly.”

She raised an eyebrow, rearranging her wrinkles in the process, and said: “I don’t really have much choice.” And off she went, leaving me with a new awareness of elderly ladies on wheels.

Category: Berlin | Tags: , ,