Monday, March 06, 2017

Hello in there

I've been thinking and worrying too much about aging lately. Today as I stood on line at babies R us for an unbelievably long time as the elderly cashier slowly helped the one hoity-toity person in front of me and as I observed the line behind me grow longer and longer, I almost cried.

Ruth (she had on a name tag) had a full head of crooked synthetic hair and bright red lipstick and rouge. She was trying to be friendly to the 30 something year old impatient woman she was helping. The woman decked out with her Louie Vuitton purse and expensive looking boots and jacket, rolled her eyes at me as if to say.. can u believe how long she is taking. Ruth had a hard time scanning the woman's Iphone to use her coupon. So happy and  boisterously she asked Ms. 30 something to read the numbers to her. Ruth stopped her and said NO NO not so fast! where are u rushing to missy? (hoity-toity abruptly said.. WORK!) Ruth then requested they be read to her 4 digits at a time. It finally went through. She tried to put the large Items into bags too small and had to start again. She forgot the gift receipt and had to redo that too. At this point the woman behind me sighed Loudly and said.. really?!  My heart just broke for Ruth.
I'm embarrassed to admit this but in my younger busier days, I too would probably have either sighed or walked off the line or been an eye roller. ( It So upsets me now to know that as being a truth about my younger self but I think SO many young people are just clueless to what it's like to grow older.)

My mom is nearly 88 and thankfully doing pretty well but of course she is not the same as she once was. 
Recently there was an 'incident' at her assisted living facility and Mom was banned from her favorite pastime (bingo) for a whole week. 
I felt this was a ridiculously stupid consequence as she is paying a fortune and she is NOT a child but my sister who is the person they contact for Moms bad behaviors and health issues, didn't protest. 
I respect and trust my sisters judgement so even though I voiced my opinion to her, I let her handle it her way.
Mom had forgotten something in the bingo room and went back there with her walker to get it, when she went inside No one was there but sitting all alone on a table was the BIG bowl of candy that they give out to who ever wins each bingo game. Mom decided she wanted that candy! She wanted So much of it that she couldn't fit it all in her pockets of her sweater and pants so she stuck some down her pants! As she walked down the hall back to her room, A candy trail fell out of her pants legs as she walked giving her away!
As my sister explained this to me and was conveying how embarrassed and upset she was by this phone call from the director, I just couldn't stop laughing as I could just see this entire 'sweet' scene! 
As adorable as Ruth and my Mom are in my opinion that is also how sad I see their situations too. 
I'm feeling like it will be right around the corner for me that I will be in their orthopedic shoes.  It goes by quickly folks. I recently put a bright pink streak in my hair and my youngest son said to me.. gee mom I hate to tell you this, but this is what they call a mid life crisis.. I said Joey I  hate to break the news to you, but mid life was about 20 years ago.
If we are lucky We all WILL grow older and of course behave differently. Slower yes, limited yes, confused maybe but ALL Old people were once young and that young person is Who they still feel like they are inside. It's who they ARE!
And Like every living person or thing they So deserve to be respected and valued. They deserve patience and understanding. 

No one ever knows what another person is dealing with or has dealt with. Is Ruth working to get out of her house and meet people? Or is she struggling and needs to stand there all day and take abuse so she can eat and pay her bills? Does she enjoy wigs for fun or has she lost her own hair due to illness or chemotherapy? It's so important for us to always think.. how would I like to be treated when I'm that age... I kept thinking of Bette Midlers moving song, Hello in there and when it was my turn at Babies R us.. I smiled big and said "Hello Ruth! How are u today?!"  Her surprised look then Big smile and bigger "Howdy young lady" just made my heart melt. 
So if you're walking down the street sometime
and you should spot some hollow ancient eyes,
don't you pass them by and stare
as if you didn't care.
Say, "Hello in there. Hello."