Dorothy Heller

A writer, blogger, mother, medical interpreter, bookaholic, grandmother, shower singer, translator, tea-aholic and an aspiring songwriter. Still writing her novel and wants to write at least one good song.

Boomers on Ice: The Mature Single and Cryogenics

Hot weather while social distancing temporarily distracted me from the search for the significant other. It’s an unromantic double whammy-pandemic plus global warming.  For boomers like me who haven’t found a permanent partner pre-Covid 19 , the question isn’t when is the next time be we’ll get to have sex, but if.

A discouraging thought while sheltering and sweltering in place in my not air-conditioned rental condo. Triple-digit temperatures inside forced me to fantasize chilly sensual pleasures, such as sliding on ice cream, slurping on sherbet, swimming in chilled champagne. There is a special subgroup of Boomers who take ice a lot more seriously—they’re planning to put themselves in the deep freeze.

 

 

Cryonics is the emerging medical technology of cryopreserving humans and animals with the intention of future revival.

This concept takes being a mature single to a whole new level—being revived as a formerly frozen being several hundred years older than your new contemporaries–a mature single, expecting to be revived by some future society when all of their former family, friends, mates, colleagues, lovers, will have long since expired.

Who do they expect will be lining up to date the newly defrosted? It’s hard enough for me to mingle at a singles mixer of my own kind in my own time. Imagine yourself as a newly defrosted self trying to make small talk with complete unknowns in an uncharted universe where they don’t even know about the latest Netflix, Trump, Corona Virus, the latest mask mandates, Omicrom, the search for authentic K95s. What do you put in your dating profile? (Assuming humans still exist, that humans aren’t just the slave underclass for the AI overlords Silicon Valley so foolishly created, assuming that sex and romance aren’t purely virtual experiences directly provided by the right implant or gadget, assuming that time has considerately stopped to aid the social reentry of the Chosen Frozen.  That’s a lot of assumptions.

It’s the most extreme expression of Boomer mentality. According to a breakdown of generational differences, “The American Dream” was promised to them as children and they pursue it. As a result they are seen as being greedy, materialistic and ambitious. Boomer traits include the belief that “anything is possible… Optimism… Personal Gratification…Spend now, worry later,” etc. A necessary mindset to voluntarily and expensively set oneself up for aloneness in an uncharted future time.

There’s anther “C” word that goes along with cryonics–chutzpah. In Yiddish, chutzpah is used indignantly, to describe someone who has overstepped the boundaries of accepted behavior. Leo Rosten in The Joys of Yiddish defines chutzpah as “gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, incredible ‘guts’, presumption plus arrogance such as no other word and no other language can do justice to”. An appropriate attitude when crafting your future dating profile: “3,500-year-old man from an alternate universe looking for 19-yr-old blonde physicist, 35”/22”/34”. It’s no wonder that three-fourth of cryonics candidates are male.

 

Loneliness is not a fun concept, especially for the mature single sheltering in place, trying to dodge the bullet of being the Corona Virus’ favored victim. If it’s feeling lonely living through a pandemic without a loving LTR who has your back and is by your side, imagine waking up from your chilly nap to a whole new world of beings with whom you share absolutely no memories, no cultural markers, no Facebook likes.

There’s evidence for a very real loneliness epidemic here and now among people who share the same culture and chronology—imagine choosing to be the lone surviving representative of your time.

 

There was a very real human being who couldn’t have been more different from our Silicon Valley wizards and candidates for the deep freeze who experienced what it was like to be completely alone—the only one of his kind left on earth, the only person who spoke a language no one else understood, who shared memories only with the dead. Home, family, ritual, society—everything gone. No one living knew his name.

He was known as Ishi—the last survivor of the massacre of his Yahi Indian tribe, who survived alone for years in the Berkeley hills. Taken in and studied by anthropologist Arnold Kroeber—some say exhibited and exploited —Ishi knew what it was to be the loneliest person in the world.

 

According to their accounts, Kroeber and his wife loved Ishi, as did others who got to know him. Tragically, they achieved what the massacre couldn’t—his second exposure to the white man gave him tuberculosis, which caused his death a few years after he was discovered and “rescued.”

Our cryonically disposed Boomers want to spend huge amounts of money so they can repeat his fate, their own chutzpah preventing them from imagining their own vulnerability to loneliness, bacteria, or microbes. I’d prefer to date an anthropologist, not be a relict of another time for him to study. R.I.P., Ishi. We’re not experiencing the depths of your loneliness and I hope we never will, but I certainly empathize. I’m hoping for a live, warm contemporary body to share life, laughter and love while we’re both inhabiting the same time/space continuum.

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