Thursday, 20 March 2008

I am them, as you are them and we are them, and we are all together.

Everyone loves hanging out with old people. No, not really.

I’ve worked in aged care, where the most common default type of old dear is a variation on the astoundingly boring, paranoid, whining, grizzly, utterly clueless, nasty, incurious and void of personal initiative old stinker, and that’s not just the Management. Of course there’s a negative side too.

Most old people love nothing better than sitting motionless, while staring into the curtained gloom, whatever the time of day or however the weather.

Colonel Neville: “Why don’t you open the curtains and let the sun in?”

Weird old freak: “I’m 90 years old! I don’t have time for opening curtains! I’m so bored…”

Colonel Neville: “Well, maybe learn something new. Learn a language or...”

Old peanut nibbler: ”I don’t want to learn Chinese! I’ve been to the Suez Canal!”

You see 'em fiddling with a piece of newspaper that they’ve cut out about pumpkin pie, or a curtain rod on special. Saving rubber bands and old jam jars is pretty damn vital work. Some have hundreds of them. Numbered and in alphabetical order. Great, eh? Ah, old people and daytime TV, and whatever’s on.

“And now for our advertised eight hour potato peeler infomercial marathon!”

Just the chance that an old person may actually speak can give one a feeling of inertia. Now let’s be honest. They mostly never say anything even remotely interesting that anyone sane wants to hear, needs to hear or haven’t already heard them say every other time they’ve spoken.

“That’s nice linoleum, isn’t it?” It’s all I ever think of. Linoleum is my life. When I think of excitement and adventure, I think linoleum.

“I don’t like to make work for anyone”.

Who does? That’s why I never use any products or buy bread for example, because it only makes more work for the bakery. I never breathe as I don’t want to be any trouble.

“It’s cold today!”

Yep, it must be around 28 degrees Celsius! Arctic! I’m expecting snow.

“They have that yellow cheese now and there are seagulls”.

Yes, the wonders of the steam age.

“I’m too old for jokes and laughing!”

I gave up laughing when I turned forty five. I realised it was time to grow up and be a sour old bastard.

“I don’t know what’s happening. I’m afraid I don’t know about things. I don’t understand anything much”.

Leave the gas on and I’ll come back tomorrow then.

And then there was the case of the missing brown sock. One old guy was so outraged about a single lost brown sock, that he forced management to call a staff meeting and bring in his family! It took days to resolve. No, really. For old people, the whole world is merely a convenient backdrop to a vast conspiracy of persecution, being plotted and schemed covertly and out in the open, by er, everyone. Especially you.

“This is an outrage and a crime against me! I pay good money to you monsters and you steal my sock! I won’t stand for it!”

Microscopically pathetic and yet, somehow sickening. Like five year olds, one of the most popular three word introductions to any statement is “I don’t like..." Well, virtually everything really, except not liking things. Old folks really like not liking anything! Though they do like cups of tea.

"But not in that cup!, or too hot and not with that milk and I know what you’re up too! You despicable creature! I’m going to report you!

But I just got here? Hey, just let me write down the things you do approve of on the back of this postage stamp. And never, ever move anything, especially if it’s on a doily, no matter how yellowed, dusty and seemingly deep fried it may appear.

“I have a very weak bladder. It drips constantly. The constant dripping. The drip, drip, drip, drip”. From memory, Mrs Fuzzybee in the Jerry lewis film The Disorderly Orderly.

Why do old people have to have hideous tea stained underwear that’s 48% bigger than they are? Perhaps as you age, your arse and genital area spreads to your neck? Maybe that’s why old folks smell everywhere? And telling a joke? Don’t bother. It’s all literal and they have to be dismayed at every step. Ah, the illogical and random segues they take make you feel like you’re losing your mind, to them.

Three Chinese guys go into a bar...“Ooh, I never drink. It’s not good for you and I, Chinese drink do they? Oh, I suppose they would, but you wouldn’t think so because of their traditional things and...”

My wife is so ugly that...“Ooh, you can’t say that! I’m sure she’s lovely and...”

I had a cat whose legs were so short that they didn’t reach the ground...“Oh, that’s terrible! They didn’t reach the ground? Oh, the poor thing. Who’d have guessed?”

No really, old people are fantastic. Though I can’t think of a single reason why anyone would say so.

1 comment:

Abandon Skip said...

I spent some time helping out in a dementia section of an old folks home. It was a riot.

Mary: do I live here?
Me: yes
Mary: am I stupid?
Me: umm
Mary: I am stupid aren't I?
Me: umm
Mary: Do I live here?
Me: yes
Mary: Did I just ask you that before?
Me: yes
[repeat numerous times throghout the day]

Mary #2 would lap the dementia house with her walker frame and if she should bump into anyone along the way it would almost come to blows.

Silvia had a habit of stripping off and wandering the house in her oversized underwear.

Another gentle, but energetic, religious lady would leap the fence and trigger off a search party to go retrieve her from the streets.

They're mostly good folks with plenty of laughter to balance the insanity, but you need a very strong sense of humour to survive for long. I lasted a few months ...