I have quite the affinity for old people. I suppose I should start with my dad, the sprightly senior who at 92, is still as sane as….well, not anyone I know over the age of sixty. But nobody would be after parenting a progeny of ten children. He was such a trooper. Especially the time he was so proud of me for killing my first spider in the bathtub. I live with the unfaultering belief that he was more besotted with me than bummed about the flaming shower curtain I lit on fire and reduced to ashes while burning the eight-legged perpetrator.
Resorting back to childhood can’t be easy. Slipping into a vegetative state every day after lunch. Eating strained peas. Keeping candy hidden under the bed. The vestige of no self control. The crying when the room is too cold, or the many distractions that come with watching a motion picture. My most memorable experience with seniors came several years back when a buddy accompanied me to a home for the aged during their recreational movie night. Despite the commonality of benevolence, I wanted to take them The Sound of Music when my compatriot suggested Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo or Apocalypse Now. I’m not so sure the seniors would have loved viewing memoirs of a pimped out person, or experience perilous and increasingly hallucinatory journeys in their dreams that night. But it was the thought that counted. They favored my film over his unconventional mixture. Except that it was my own fault for taking a feature with a film length of two hours and fifty-four minutes and with an intermission time of forever, since we had to wait for the blessedly slow old man river to return to his seat after his potty break.
Into the second half, another gentleman decided to do a horizontal movie pause by drifting into a coma and was out cold. If I didn’t know better, I’d have to wonder if he mistook Vicodin for vitamins and swallowed them down with whiskey. And I love a man in uniform, unless that ensemble consists of boxers and a tank top with hair brimming from every angle. I had to crawl out of the mire of discouragement at thoughts of my own impending destiny in senior housing with flashers and other peculiarities. I was however very much a supremely chic senior myself in golden browns, joining others in what looked like a turtle convention, since the spots on my carapace aren’t so subtle as well. I was jealous of this individual’s ability to snooze throughout the film, and also through one lady’s full phone conversation with her daughter at a sound frequency only known to deaf people. God love her, and her hairy male compadre.
Meanwhile, there was one more over-the-hiller waiting in patient preparation for me to pass around my bag of peanut M&M’s of which I had every intention of hoarding. Surely he must have been aware that he had two candy bars of his own. But what do you do when a pensioning cutie pie looks at you with such an impassioned look on his face and a clobbering cane on his arm? I had to set aside that yearning inside my stomach to share. He told me of his fondness for both chocolates and hundred dollar bills. I would have handed over several banknotes with Benjamin Franklin if I had been much more closely connected to a treasury vault. I told him I would gladly help him out in my next life when I’m reincarnated as Bonnie Parker. I ended up giving the guy my yummy confections, and would likely keep this tradition of contributing if I could weed out currency extortionists and other chocolate lovers.
I remember one scene specifically, when it helps to associate certain situations with circus acts. Resident Ralph started flirting with Judith whose eye glass string got caught on Dorothy’s wheelchair and she jerked spilling her lemonade on Roy’s pant leg and he started swearing in Swahili just about the time Dolores sneezed on the attending caregiver who let her tray slip sending a glass that Donald tried to catch but missed by eight feet and the sugary liquid drenched the entire backside of Carl’s toupee.
Benny had won at Cribbage hours earlier and was very verbal about taking his winnings and running off to Vegas with a gal he used to know, a person whom he talks about every day and who was apparently a very highly respected bar maid with implants. Mister sleepiness and candy snatcher decided to wake up and because he was directionless, needed help walking back to his room. I bid my crotchety relic of a movie date goodnight, then watched the fine fellow slide underneath his bed as if he was ready to repair an automobile. I wanted to ask if he had ever worked as a maintenance man at Goodyear, and if he did same day service. Come to find out, that’s where he hid his candy.
I fully fess up to my inner weirdness. So I am hoping my girls will see the humor in my aging process and patiently tend to my decrepitness when I leave my dentures in the refrigerator and my mind in the gutter. I’m rather hoping my own retirement includes a pension plan that will totally shape my emeritus experience. One that will cover an ocean soaring yacht with a crew that follows me around with a shaker of martinis and personal pan peanut M&M’s.
My elderly friends aren’t your stereotypical seniors. They are the most refreshing things since Glade was introduced to us. I called my eighty-three year old friend Ginny recently to go to dinner since we both like Mexican food, and because she adds such sparkle to my life. She informed me that she was too sick to go out. I asked what was ailing her and she replied, “I’ve got the rockin’ pneumonia and my boogery grandson’s flu.”
This is why I love this lady. She is whimsically twisted just like I am.