Stuck in the Middle in the Middle

I am not elderly, not disabled, not “essential”, not “front-line”, and I am not considered vulnerable; nevertheless, I feel stuck in the middle. I am stuck in the middle of all that is going on, and it seems nobody sees that I can do with a little help. In fact, I am always expected to provide assistance, to give way, even if I am dying in the process.

In the earlier period of lockdown, with never-ending queues, a person who is quite “ordinary” could find herself or himself quite exasperated. A few weeks ago I went to the pharmacy to get medication for my mother. I left home very early, hoping I would be the first in the queue and in fact, I thought I was, until the pharmacy opened its doors, then I found several people emerging from various nooks, crevices and whatever spaces, saying they were there quite early but they were sheltering. My naturally cheeky thought was “so shelter doh good for me too?” That emergence meant that I was about tenth in the queue. I was then waiting my turn quite patiently only to see several elderly people, some were not looking that elderly, place themselves at the front. I was thinking, “yes I have to yield to them, no problem”. It seemed to me that every time I was close to being admitted inside the pharmacy, a fresh group of elderly folks would appear, pushing me further back. I was getting tired, very tired. I got to thinking, “how long will this go on? I too have my health challenges, but they are not visible! I was thinking … and voila! A spirit of daring seized me and I declared “I am going in next… I am getting medication for an elderly!” They looked me up and they looked me down. Nobody said anything to the contrary.

The point is such everyday fights can really wear us down. It sometimes feels that it is a curse to be just normal, or regular; it just seems as if everything is one big struggle. It seems even bigger because people like us still have to care for so many … and because we do so without complaint, hardly anyone notices that we are getting weary and worn. It is the challenge of the sandwich generation; it is the reality of being stuck in the middle.

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