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Silver Threads: Scary things for seniors

It’s All Hallows Eve, and time to go into the horror house, think about scary things, however much we’d rather not. I pondered, and produced a list of boos and boohoos, some much more important than others.

Bettye Anding

The presidential election. I’d rather not go there, but I’ll have to on Nov. 6. This scary thing includes the economy, our military presence overseas, and whether or not Congress is getting enough perks in retirement pay and healthcare. Nobody has mentioned this in cost-cutting studies.

The murder rate in New Orleans. It’s to be hoped that much, much larger brains than mine are at work on this.

New Orleans drivers. Why won’t the motorist just behind you in the lane to your right slow down and drop back a little when you put on your blinker? You’re trying to take the exit to Carrollton off the expressway, and she speeds up, passes you and then cuts sharply around in front to continue toward Baton Rouge. I’m considering getting a big bumper sticker that informs, “Addled and mean old woman at the wheel. For your safety, beware her blinker.”

The Saints‘ season. I don’t know why the TP bothers to put out special sections to cover this travesty. They can save a few cents and skip delivery of mine.

Potholes and patched-up (or not) streets. Since the major artery in my neighborhood has been resurfaced, I’ve been more aware of what can be, streetwise. I’d almost forgotten it. If it’s a question of money — and it is –why do we need another dog park when thoroughfares are so terribly maintained? Everyone should know that Labradors and retrievers should be shipped out to the country. Get a mini breed who’s happy in the back yard.

Ipads and Ipods and almost anything electronic. I’ve told you before that I can buy shoes and airline tickets on the internet, send and receive e-mail, search for definitions and quotations and other information, and spell check when I’m writing this column. I can also change the ringtone or “wallpaper” on my cell phone and set its alarm to wake me up on days I deliver meals (the only times I get up before 9). But I cannot cope with other possibilities; indeed, I find them frightening. Imagine tapping one cell phone on another to transfer a photo! The 15-year-old grandson came by the other day, reading a book from his Kindle on his Iphone. How do they do that?

New television sets and, yes, washing machines. I’m afraid to push any but a few buttons on our TV remote for fear I’ll screw up all the settings and not be able to get back to there I was. And the washing machine we bought this spring will start its cycle all over if you get too nosy and try to peek at what it’s doing. I didn’t need 15 options for different load sizes, either.

Hilary Rodham Clinton’s new hairdo. I like the woman, but what stylist advised her to go about looking like Alice in Wonderland’s grandmother? Can we take her seriously? Everybody knows that wrinkles and sags and long locks don’t compliment one another. Or at least they used to. Once upon a time the hair went up when the face went down.

Casual Fridays and Mondays through Thursdays, not to mention Saturdays and Sundays. I had to look hard to catch a glimpse of any male other than my husband in jacket and tie at last weekend’s ballet performance. Nobody that I saw was in tee-shirts and flip-flops — but still. It’s more fun to go out when people look nice. And don’t get me started on church attire. What would these people get dressed up for?

Facebook. I joined up last spring and up popped three or four hundred “friends“ eager to share their every thought. How do you get out of this thing?

Looking at photos in the Social Scene of the children and grandchildren of folks we used to cover when I was Nell Nolan’s editor. Tempus fugit, when you’re having fun. Even scarier is looking at pictures of some of my contemporaries.

Bettye Anding is a former editor of the Living section of The Times Picayune, for which she wrote “Silver Threads” until her retirement. Email comments to her at


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