Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Old people = big buckets of attitude

Aunt MacGuff lives in an old folks home. We like to call it Cray-cray Central because when you get the elderly in aggregate, they let the I-don't-give-a-shit flag fly freely. It has taken me a few years to wrap my head around this. Watching Aunt MacGuff navigate the social and political waters has made me realize that a) good old folks home are awesome, b) I need to bank me some cash so I get in on this action when I'm old 'cause they are incredibly expensive, and c) being a battle axe helps socially.

In a community containing multiple 100+ year olds, Aunt MacGuff is considered a spry teenager for merely being in her early 70s. The problem is that they expect her to take on all kinds of responsibilities and they don't brook "no" as an option. She's been sucked into numerous committees and duties. For instance, she's the "greeter" on her hall which means she's responsible for showing around new residents and resolving disputes, like telling people to turn down their TV. Apparently it is common practice for the elderly to deny they're deaf, not use their hearing aids, and then blast everyone with their Matlock reruns.

This would be a great job if Aunt MacGuff actually liked confrontation, telling people what to do, or being outgoing. She likes none of these things. At first we thought it would be good for her to be forced to get out of her shell. I mean she can blow of us off if she wants, but her 90 year old neighbor ain't taking no for an answer, you are going to have human interaction whether you want it or not. While this keeps her from going full hermit, it has ramifications we didn't consider.

Me: "We haven't seen you in weeks! These old people are running you ragged. You need to say no to peer pressure and quit that committee, job, project!"
Her: "It's not that easy."
Me: "Tell them you have vertigo!"
Her: "These people are blind and/or have walkers. I don't."
Me: "What about your disabled arm?"
Her: "They'll ask me which exercise class I'm in and then stop by when they go to class and drag me along."
Me: "Damn. What about your dizziness and trouble walking?"
Her: "My neighbor is 102 and walks 12 blocks a day."
Me: (stunned silence) "...I don't walk 12 blocks a day. Are you kidding me?"
Her: "Every. Single. Day."
Me: "Um, you might be doomed. We'll have to start scheduling times to see you weeks in advance."
Her: "The only thing that has ever worked is if I tell them I'm working on my quilt."
Me: "I guess that'll have to do for the next...20 years. They should stop pestering you by 90."
Her: "Hopefully."

I'm not sure being old is for introverts.

(And in completely different news, this is what two toddlers look like if you bathe them together. The whole time.)

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