October 3, 2006
On baring all and Geritol
Well, I would be remiss if I didn't thank you for reading and writing and baring your dating souls last week. You've at once left me saddened for your many losses and on the verge of dry heaving at the thought of ever entering another relationship. That and completely in awe of the fact that you thought enough of me and the Internets to share these painful memories and utterly unbelievable statements. Oh, the complete lack of humanity in so many humans.

I thought about balancing the last post with one about the overwhelming adorableness of baby hedgehogs, or one requesting your fondest love memory (my friend Erika nearly beat me over the head when I mentioned that one), or yet another about my newfound obsession with Wikipedia and the fact that Look! You can find out anything you want to about Buddhists and Dooce and vas deferens, all in one place!

But I came up with old people. That's right, old people. (Don't cringe, I'm not going to write about the freaking Notebook again.)

I was behind an elderly woman tonight at the CVS who was plucked right out of a 50's Woolworth's, party people. A summer hat, a pale polyester wrap dress, black nursing shoes and socks, and an accent that said she'd spent years drinking sweet tea. She greeted the young cashier with a smile and placed on the counter the largest economy-sized package of toilet paper one ever did see. My grandfather, a Depression-era survivor himself, horded and bought items in batches of at least 888, so this was endearing to me.

And then she did that thing that makes me want to lose it, and sweat, and beat myself about the head and face as I do only when THAT WOMAN at Giant FIRST THINKS TO TAKE HER CHECKBOOK OUT AFTER THE CASHIER HAS RUNG UP ALL 476 OF HER ITEMS AND TOTALED HER ENTIRE BILL. ("Do you have a pen?")

Beatdown, people.

She paid in change. And counted it all out. And would look over her shoulder every two minutes to see if we were still waiting.

Even my tampons were sick of standing up.

But then there are the old folks I love, like Elly who used to live at the nursing home I worked at after school when I was 17. Once a week, I'd paint her nails a lovely shade of whatever was in the donation box, parking her wheelchair on one side of me and Lucy's chair on the other. One particular day I was giving Lucy the grand treatment when I heard a moist chomping coming from my left side.

Crap. Coffee hour was long since over.

But Elly hadn't cheeked any sponge cake. Instead, she was gleefully and spiritedly and quite awesomely, I might add, chewing on two oversized cotton balls. All while managing the largest grin on her wrinkly, crinkly old face. And she was so going to swallow.

So naturally I screamed. I called for a nurse. And I did the dumbest thing a person could do other than pass out: I stuck my hand right into her mouth.

And so Elly then did the smartest thing she should have done to a dumb girl sticking a finger down a smart old woman's throat: she bit down as hard as she could. And only then did she give up the cotton.


16 Comments:

Anonymous Jorge said...

Ah.
Old people.

One day that will be us, mama.

We will be counting change and driving so unbearably slow that the turtles would pass us by and leave us in their dust.

For every OScar there is a Felix.

Such is the balance.
:)

J

Blogger Paige Jennifer said...

I don't hate old people and I don't hate CVS but I can't tolerate old people in CVS. They push around shopping carts (yeah, I never knew they even had shopping carts either) and load 'em high with all of the things noted in the weekly flyer. Milk. Depends. Tums. Pens. You name it, they're buying it. So that's who buys the milk at CVS...

Blogger Irish Red said...

The sadest thing is...we will BE those old people someday. I hope I turn out to be an old woman like my grandma - she would sit out on the porch with us, teach us to play poker, drink her manhattens at 11 a.m. and smoke. She was fabulous.

Anonymous nabbalicious said...

Oh, God. I avoid CVS on Sunday, because that's when all the grayhairs are there with their 5,000 coupons and they're forever making the cashiers do price checks on Preparation H.

I want to be like my grandma when I grow up, too, though. She swears and everything. Awesome!

Blogger Kelley said...

Last month I went to visit my grandmother, and while I was there I helped her sort through her clothes closet. At one point I came across a black leather belt with a big, silver peace sign buckle.

I laughed, and asked her if she'd worn a hippie outfit to a costume party.

She stared at my blankly and said, "Why, no; I wear that belt with those slacks over there."

She had NO CLUE; she thought it was a pretty design. That buckle must have been almost three inches in diameter.

Blogger Keith said...

Eating cotton always leaves me with a dry taste in my mouth.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I only use the cotton balls to get the taste of the rubbing alcohol out of my mouth.

Blogger Amanda said...

ahhahaha! oh no! was she wearing dentures?

Blogger Namaste said...

i'm in tears.

tears, i say.

tears.

Blogger Sizzle said...

who writes checks?

ha ha.

Blogger Brookelina said...

I went to Jersey this weekend. Jealous?

Blogger Aileen said...

My 84 year old grandmother often tells me that she never goes grocery shopping on a Tuesday afternoon because "a busload of old people" come and do their shopping. "Have you ever been in line behind one of those old ladies? They take forever!"

She just cracks me up! ;)

Blogger Evil Genius said...

Must be something about old women. My mom is the same way. I can't even stand to be with her in a line when she's paying. She takes six things out of her purse to finally get to her wallet or checkbook (and only AFTER she's been told the total). Then she has to count out change, and it's usually wrong, so she has to check for more. Then she has to put everything back into that piece of luggage she calls a purse. Even I want to pick her up and forcibly carry her out of the store.

God no, please don't let that be me someday!!!!

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