I’ve been slightly obsessed these days with watching the elderly… maybe trying to make sense out of the shape my former superhero parents are taking, or maybe taking a peek at my own future, which suddenly isn’t as far away… knowing there will probably be a time when this sensory pod betrays me and I become an alien on my own planet.
Driving up the street the other morning, I witnessed a much older woman out with her dog. She heard my car, and even though I was far, far away from her, and not planning on driving on the sidewalk, she turned with a slow-motion alarm and a confused glare on her face that suggested she didn’t trust her senses anymore. Yes, she had heard a distant car, but perhaps those ears had lied to her before and not only was it on the street, but closer than her ears had judged it to be. I then thought of the neighbors who had left a pan on the stove too long. Yes, they thought they had smelled something burning, but it just didn’t seem that strong so they assumed someone was burning something outside… I thought of my mother-in-law who was convinced the slippery, yellow ham was ok because it didn’t smell bad to her, even though my nose smelled the boys locker room after a year of never taking their uniforms home to be washed.
The senses just don’t work the same. The joints don’t move as well. The thoughts… well, they might be fresh or they could be from an event that happened decades ago, but seem as if it just happened yesterday.
I was watching a man the other night while waiting for one of the lamblets to finish with her dance class. I was parked behind a glass-enclosed bus stop, the man’s back to me, so intent on what he was doing that it never seemed to dawn on him that someone might be watching. That thought alone made me worry for him…
He was seated, looking neatly dressed in crisp khakis and a short sleeved plaid shirt, a shirt that makes an elderly man look “dapper”, but which would make any other man look nerdy. I wondered if this was a special trip… his one time out for the day, or even the week, maybe the month. Every few minutes or so he’d brace himself to stand up and lean out to look down the line of traffic and then steady himself to turn back around to look at the posted schedule, at which point he’d again check his watch and then look back to the schedule. He did this a number of times, looking a little more shaky and worried as he did it, and yet I noticed that some of his movements were as fluid as ever… the movements he had rehearsed for a lifetime, still done with the ease and flourish of a 30 yr-old… the turning and raising of the arm to check his watch… the brisk tug he gave the legs of his trousers as he was about to sit down. Had I only seen those two moves, I could have imagined him to be a much younger man… but it was the way he nervously looked out into traffic, and again at the schedule, where I could see his age and his doubt. Was his watch really telling him the correct time? Was he looking at the right bus number on the schedule??
I sat there and stewed. He was probably fine. He would probably get to his destination. For all I knew, he did this every night, but the other part of me thought of all of the things that could go wrong, I blame having children for that. You can suddenly see every horrendous outcome in vivid detail. But he was probably fine… and he seemed to be enjoying his independence, even if he did seem worried, and that independence would not be helped by a crazy woman insisting she give him a ride. I then wondered if a sudden onslaught of offered help affects a man the same way no more whistles affect an older woman... it's both a relief and a disappointment.
Anyhow, he was probably fine, but it was dusk… and there was still no bus in sight. I worried that he had gone out on the wrong day… and I hoped that the 30 yr-old in him that still knew how to flick his wrist to see his watch, and pull up those trousers just so, would shut up when the time came for his elderly self to ask for some directions.
8:30 AM: Looked at new batch of catalogs... amazed at the plethora of Christmas offerings. Spy toaster I think would fit in funky area where our "it fits, but it's still a piece of crap" toaster has been for the past 10 years... decide it's probably too much, choose to put it off again, and move on to griping about plethora of Christmas offerings.
9:13 AM: Receive email from Amex saying those bonus points I've been accruing forever are now available to use at Amazon for anything... not just stuff no one needs in special bonus point categories.
10:30AM: Wondering if Amazon offers that toaster.
12:47 PM: Ordering toaster from Amazon... using bonus points. Opting for regular shipping.
5:30PM: Receive email that toaster has shipped. Apparently no rest for the wicked.
8:45 AM: Man shows up at house with a package. IT'S THE DAMN TOASTER! DELIVERED ON A SUNDAY MORNING... almost exactly 24 hours after spying it in the catalog.
I was shopping at a new grocery store in our area yesterday when I realized they had Grizzled's favorite ice cream... Black Cherry. It's not as easy to find as you would think. A lot of ice creams have cherry or maraschino cherry, but not black cherry.. I bought him some. It wasn't until I got home that I realized it was "Lite", which is fine, it will probably be fine, ice cream manufacturing has come a long way, but for a moment I had flashbacks of ice milk... ice milk made the pre-ice cream manufacturing technological advancements era.
I then had a flashback to the worst of all grandparent desserts... Black Walnut Ice Milk!
Nothing was worse! And it was made doubly disappointing by the fact that Grandma and Grandpa usually lured you in with the promise of ice CREAM. Not frozen milk! No, Ice CREAM that usually came in flavors like chocolate, or strawberry, or wonderful BlueMoon... it came in a flavor that didn't taste like mildew.
To this day there is only one item I can eat that has black walnuts in it and it's Peppernuts. My grandmother's recipe makes 600-700 cookies... that recipe for 600-700 cookies contains only 6 ounces of black walnuts. You do the math. I made them once and left out the heinous black walnuts, only to realize they do have value in this world... in an old Germanic cookie. They belong in nothing else and certainly not anything called ice cream or candy. Yes, Grandma and Grandpa occasionally lured us to try that "treat". I might as well have just gnawed on a mildewy baseboard... which reminds me... now I know why my basement reminds me of my grandparents...
What scary things did your grandparents try to pass off as dessert??
--In defense of my grandparents... I know they served many wonderful desserts that were actually desserts, but the fear of the bait and switch... the fear of being offered something tantalizing and then getting Black Walnut Ice Milk has obviously left a scar. Fool me once...
While sitting at the computer, paying bills, Grizzled walked in and directed my attention to the cute little sparrow in the bush directly outside the window. It wasn't a sparrow, it was a House Wren... my paternal grandmother's favorite bird. They're common, but somehow seeing one still seems exciting to me.
A kindly reader pointed out that HDB was most likely not calling me out in this comment, but rather, was playing along. That could very well be. I wasn't exactly calling him out in a 100% serious way either, however, I was feeling a tad vulnerable given the fact that I had received email again yesterday (not from the kindly reader) telling me that I don't always conduct myself in a proper manner. I'm a female, a married female... and worst?? I'm a MOTHER! Mothers don't make rude jokes, it might harm the children!
I have had a rude mind forever. I've been a fan of the double entendre even longer. It's just a part of me. Yes, even I have my limits, and too much time spent in the comment locker room of some blogs can make even me cringe, roll my eyes, or declare, "Grow up!" Chances are though... I'm thinking of 20 comebacks that never make it onto the page because blue comments by women carry more risk of judgment about the woman. Even worse?? They carry the risk that the dolts won't understand that the woman was joking and will think she's a needy stalker... (is that redundant?? Is a stalker by its very nature, needy??)
I've gotten used to this double standard over time... I usually know when to play and when to be quiet. I know Brando's comment threads are usually safe for unleashing although a specific one still haunts me to this day. I know that fish will delete for me when I feel I've gone to far. Oh hell... fish will delete his entire comment history!
The fact remains... I love filthy humor. I can turn anything into something off sounding. It doesn't make me any less of a lady, or any less of a mother. (If the evil PTA ever finds my blog, I hope they remember that. I'm not the one who was dancing on the table at last Saturday night's party and flashing my neighbor... ok??) I would like to think I'm raising two wonderful kids and that their mother's excursions into questionable humor is either strengthening their own funny bones, or causing them to lighten up about things in life that just don't need to be that serious.
And for those of you who have suggested that my humor is disrespectful to Grizzled, don't worry... my humor was one of the very first things Grizzled noticed... after my rack...
Grizzled also knows I like men. I married one... and even though I married one, I still like bantering with the wide selection of wonderful specimens out there. I find them intriguing... and I find their freedom of humor appealing. I count it as a blessing to occasionally be allowed into the locker room, and get a little irked when I feel I'm being called out for by breaking rules they themselves don't have to keep.