After what seemed like months of waiting (and actually was months of waiting, now that I think about it), I'm finally volunteering regularly at the local care center (if twice in two weeks counts, which I think totally does).
And you know what? I really like it. I wish I could tell my 11-year-old self.
Last Thursday I went in to meet a couple of ladies who don't get a lot of visitors. It was an interview, I guess, to see if they liked me. One was too busy watching a game show and the other was too busy falling asleep in her wheelchair to notice I was there. It was sort of awesome, and I felt bad that the activities director kept apologizing for their behavior.
But since I was there, the activities director (whose name I forget. Ironically they're doing memory tests at the care center this week. Maybe I should look into that) took me around to a few other rooms to introduce me to the residents and give me a feel for the building.
I ended up in the rehab wing with these two guys, one maybe in his 60s, the other 83. Mr. 83 told me right off that he was trying to "convert the heathen," aka Mr. 60s, but he'd "already found the Lord." So we all know where this is going, right?
Wrong. He rambled on and on about how he grew pot for ten years in Colorado and how he'd told his wife when the good Lord wanted him out of the business, He'd put him out of the business, and lo and behold, He did, but wow, that was a good decade with a to be unnamed here professional basketball team as his biggest customer. And then calling some judge an off-colored, homophobic name in court and the trouble that got him into. And how I need to dress sexier if I'm going to be volunteering here.
Um, wow. That was a lot to take in. I was not impressed with most of what he was saying, but was torn on whether or not I should tell him to shut up* because he's 83, for crap's sake, and his wife died on Leap Year and he doesn't care if he wakes up tomorrow or not. Although does that give you a free pass to say whatever you want,** no matter how offensive?
I'm a wimp.
Moving right along.
After meeting the peeps last week, the activities director and I decided that I'd come back on Tuesday and have a little "magazine party," as she called it, with a group of residents in the activity room. She thought maybe that would be a better scene for everyone involved, plus apparently Tuesdays are field trip days but not everyone is in a position to go, you know? So this would be something different for those left behind.
And that worked out amazingly well. She wheeled in Geraldine, my TV watcher from last week, and Francis, who is practically nonverbal. Westine (is that really a name?) wheeled herself in and was a kick. Then later another lady wheeled in her husband just because she saw we were in there, and Francis' daughter came, so it was QUITE the group. Magazines, cocoa, trying to figure out what the hell*** tripe is (cow stomach. Gross). Some were just there for the ambiance, others were there to chat. Maybe a couple were there for the cocoa.
Anyway, afterwards the activities director was like, do you want to call me when you have another free day? and I was all, um, how about just next Tuesday at the same time? and she was very pro-that plan.
Next week we might scrapbook or something. It's hard to say.
I thought that I wanted just one person, but this group thing seems to be the way to go. Who'd have thought that hanging out in a care center for an hour and a half would be so entertaining?
I guess I did make the right choice after all.
P.S. This story is for my public: Remember Blaine? He wheeled himself in at one point, and I was trying not to make eye contact because he used to corner me at the store to talk about Dad, aka "Coach," and I was not really in the mood because he is still kind of icky. He abruptly left, so maybe he was thinking he didn't want to go down that road either, or maybe I look significantly different from my teens and 20s that he didn't recognize me. Close call!
*I would never actually tell an old person to shut up, but I could have said, Mr. 83, would Jesus use those words? Honestly, I feel badly for not speaking up, but I know deep down that I still wouldn't. Like I said, wimpy. Confrontations are not my strong point.
**I was going to write "talk crazy shit," but I'm trying not to swear.
Pearl Jam, Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town. Lyrically, this is my favorite PJ song of all, just FYI. My children do not get the whole grunge thing, which is disappointing. You can lead your kids towards good music, but you can't make them listen unless they're stuck in the car with you and you won't let them touch your iPod.