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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It's Reunion time!

Coming to your future. 
In about three weeks time I will be joining a group of people I haven't seen, for the most part, for more than twenty years and in many cases, more than forty years. Yes, it's High School Reunion time again. I have decidedly mixed feelings about attending. What distinguishes this meet-up, besides my growing older and wider, is the playing field is somewhat more leveled by our respective ages. While we refer to ourselves and are referred to as solidly middle-aged, reaching two years shy of sixty seems a bit further along on life's journey than midpoint.

There will be those attending who have aged well. There will be those attending who have, with surgical assistance, maintained a more youthful countenance and there will be those who, suffering from a combination of ill health, genetics, plumb bad luck and questionable lifestyle choices, have crept closer to the decrepitude that comes with old age.

Dressed for Dinner.
Lest you think I'm being cynical, I can assure you, old age is not for sissies. I see examples of about once a week when I visit my mother in her nursing home. I try to time my visits around meal times. I do this for a variety of reasons. First, because it provides my son and I with an opportunity to engage others in conversation with her and we are then not bombarded with or limited to her repetitive repertoire of complaints and intimate ailment inventory. Each meal there serves as a kind of reunion of sorts. Names and faces that may have been forgotten are recalled, though they very well might have last met less than 24 hours earlier.

Some residents dress for dinner, some scream for it and some silently wait for their meals draped in their lobster bib-like accessory, mandatory dress code for both lunch and dinner. Her tablemates are an eclectic assortment of aged and infirm, joining us on their own steam supported by metal walkers or rolling in on their self-propelled four wheel carriages.

Most have trouble hearing and I wonder if after all those hours I spent at rock concerts, driving with blasting car stereos and now listening to my iPod, will have an early deteriorating effect on this most fragile sense.

In some ways it might be better. The hate speech and vitriol that fills and fuels what passes as News today frequently feels toxic. Perhaps in not being able to hear it, I might finally reach that Nivanian state of bliss, aka ignorance.

Poor little Dobby
When my mother first arrived at her new home, my son and I joined her at her first dinner. All meals are served in a spacious dining room and seating is assigned. As I stood behind her, at the next table a wizened woman who resembled Dobby, the house elf from Harry Potter, peered up at me from her power wheelchair.

"Hey", she cackled, " You're new here. Why are you here?"
"This is my mother"I explained. "She just arrived today."
"Really? Why did you bring her here of all places? This place is awful. The food is disgusting. It's a hellhole!"
"Yes, yes it is. How did you find this place?"
"I just googled hellhole."
"Aha hah hah."

Those hard of hearing residents in the vicinity could hear well enough to "get" my response and appreciate it. It was comforting to learn that while our hearing may fade away, a sense of humor appears to be eternal. I do hope we all bring it to the reunion.

1 comment:

  1. all i want to know is WHO had the surgical assistance?!!