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The other week, just before our trip to Italy, I got up from the couch and without realizing it, made a noise that was somewhere between a groan and a sigh. My wife asked what was the matter, and I said nothing, I just had an ache getting up. Now I've been told that I mastered the art of sitting at the age of six months, having pursued said art diligently through the decades. Never before had getting up from the sitting position been stressful. I blithely put it out of my mind, assuming it was an aberration, definitely not age related though I made a concerted effort to rise thereafter noiselessly.


Fast forward a week to our trip to Italy. We were on the Amalfi Coast and flagged a bus (they don't just stop in Italy, you have to wave them down--small wonder Italians use their hands so much when they talk). This particular bus was so full, my wife got the last seat and I stood in the aisle. I may have mastered the art of standing somewhat later in my early childhood development than that of sitting, but nonetheless have stood successfully for many years. What's more, I do work out, jogging, biking, swimming and the like, so standing for the 15-minute bus ride posed no problem.  Until some thirtyish smart alecky Good Samaritan Italian rose and offered me his seat. I declined with a universal hand gesture but he said, "Insisto." My knowledge of the native language told me he said he insisted.


People are supposed to offer their seats to the elderly, like my grandmother.  Oops! My elderly grandmother died two years younger than my present age.


At least I got to sit during the ride to Maori. However, I did groan heavily when we reached our destination and I had to get up from the seat.


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