Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Spider Grandma

Well, last night was fun, we trick-or-treated in my parent's neighborhood and at at retirement home nearby. The old people were the best. One lady with a clown outfit (sort-of) shuffled-a-rug to the karaoke music another resident graced us with. The most wonderful was "spider grandma" Her entire face and neck were painted black, she had little funny glasses on, a black net over her white hair, and a web cape. It was awesome. The rest of the folks sat in a circle and passed out candy to my girls while swooning over their adorableness. I just love old people. They were so sweet and put a huge smile on all of our faces. I was glad my girls made them smile too.

I do get very confused sometimes as to when old people are telling me truth or fantasy. I remember not realizing that the outrageous stories a lady in my Grandmother's nursing home were not true until the nurse told me. I just don't have much experience with the process of dementia and I wonder when the lines between memory, wishful thinking, and escapism become blurred. A lady last night asked if my girls were adopted (granted they look nothing like me, but they are the spitting image of their daddy who was standing next to me). She then confided that she had adopted her daughter, but that she didn't tell everyone that. She told me it was long ago and that she hadn't brought any money to give the people, but that she just gave them candy. Huh? Was she now talking about tonight's festivities, or had her experiences from long ago (real or imagined) become entwined with the present? I just smiled and squeezed her hand and told her adoption was wonderful.

Sometimes this aspect of aging scares me. What does it feel like to not know reality? But considering that so much of how we perceive reality is really a product of our own minds, maybe it is not so scary after all.
In the end, what difference does it make if our memories get screwed up? It just seems like it does make a HUGE difference. It is our life, after all, and by the time I am that old, more will be in the past then the future on this Earth. And not being able to identify how that life was lived is sad. What if I can't know that the faces I see love me? Or that my life was lived for anything worthwhile? But maybe, they don't know that they don't know and life is great.

I would like to forget all the dogs I have failed in my life. First there was Odo. He was "great", but made the girls cry in abject terror, so off to a farm for him. Then there was Elsa. I could just never like her, and neither could anyone else. She wasn't bad, just weird and distant. She is on at least her fourth home, and she's not sticking there either. Then there was Caspian. He was adorable and sweet but dug up my plants and puked on the floor in the middle of the night. After stepping in a big pile at 3 in the morning, I gave him some Imodium AD and sent him to his next home. (They love him, so that was a good thing.) Then came Jack (who I am determined to keep), and now Jill. I am in the process of failing her. She chased the neighbor's horses (and they will shoot her), she tears up things, teaches Jack bad habits, and makes me miserable. Miserable because I like her so much, but she exasperates me. After she made a poop pile on the carpet again this morning, I just felt that I can never win with dogs. Who else has had this many dogs in only 3 years? I thought I was a dog person, but maybe I just need to admire them from afar. I hope someday I remember that I was a dog champion and ran a rescue or something. That would be great


Jonathan said...

Yeah, they're pretty nice... except for the guy that yells at you should you so much as mention cheese in his presence. They also hate rice. It must a generational thing - perhaps they lived on rice during the depression, and now, in a state of affluence, can afford to avoid it. If that is the case, surely my generation will despise French fries... but I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

this was the funniest blog i've read yet. i actually stopped and told the guy next to me (after i quit laughing) what a talented writer you are.

i can't wait to be old and allow dementia to bloom fully. i want to blend reality and cartoons together to reveal some sort of super luke. well, off to watch cartoons...peace.