The Unexpected Meeting with an Old Lady Cold

The Tale of Senility

Nicola Bagala, a LEAF writer, recalls meeting a woman on the street. She then considers what would have happened if age-related illnesses had never existed.

Let me tell you a little story from a few years ago, as I was approaching the end of my studies at university. In the summer of 2007, I was living in a student flat on the edge of Helsinki, Finland. This area of Finland is lush and green in the summer. But at the end March, when the story is set, it still looks barren and icy.

We were both excited to be home that evening. My girlfriend and I had just returned from the supermarket. We were discussing something that I don’t remember when we passed a person whose face I couldn’t make out. It was only a vague feeling, but I knew it was a female. As we walked past her, I heard a voice. Maybe it was her. I told myself she was on the phone. When I heard her call again, I turned to see if she really was trying to get our attention.

She was a lady, I was correct. I was right–she was a woman. The following is a description of my conversation with her. My girlfriend doesn’t speak Finnish. It was not long after the event that I wrote this down, but it wasn’t exactly the same conversation. I had to improvise to fill in some blanks as I translated the Finnish. This is the best I can do.


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