My father used to call it the organ recital. That thing when you casually ask a geezer how he is and he tells you in detail. Such revelations used to seem like oversharing. But now that I’m a geezer—or a crone—I get it. I live in my body, there’s no escape. When things go wrong inside my skin (or on it) I feel more than idle curiosity. In the last third of life, in which I and many of my friends abide, a new symptom can be an answer to the question, How will I die?
That’s the conversation’s subtext, too stark to spell out in casual conversation. So nowadays, when someone confides her latest health concern, I listen with interest—and Google it later—because I know what we’re really discussing is mortality. The organ recital now feels not like oversharing but undersharing.