I like going to the theatre but I don’t want to become one of those gals that I went on that bus trip with. This was in the before times and they were brutal. At one of the matinees in Stratford, we attended , a guy had a heart attack, and as the EMT wheeled him out, one of the two women sitting next to me, said, “Oh great. This performance better not start late. We have reservations for six.”
That’s what happens to people in retirement.
They make leisure time sound like work. They start packing for a trip three months before they leave. Thursday we will be in London, so I will need a raincoat but then if it snows I might need a toque. The U.S. pulled out of Afghanistan, with less planning.
I think about this because as I get older I will either have to travel or I will have to do “good”. How many hours a day would that take up?
Awhile back, I did Meals on Wheels, but I ate the meal.
Some of my friends go to Africa to help people. I’m don’t think I can handle Africa. I’ve been to Kenora and I began to hyperventilate. ( See, the client I was working for put it in this revolving room. The room kept moving slowly in a half moon circle. I realized this as I looked out and saw the tree I had been staring at was no longer in my sight line. I thought I was having a stroke. I had to be moved. My point is if I can’t handle a revolving room- how could I ever handle warlords?
So many of my friends are doing volun-tourism thing. Which sounds good but you got to know if you are making a contribution, or just being a pain in the ass to people who live there.
Like my friend who went to Mumbai. She paid $5600 dollars to help make bricks for poor people. That sounds lovely, but she isn’t a brick maker. She can’t even handle crumbs on the cupboard, so she had no business going to a third world country thinking she was going to be of any help! I got a call from her when I was on the road, far from home myself in Hull, Quebec and I don’t speak the language. I speak French but not Hull French and I’m having dinner in a St. Hubert’s Chicken joint and ordering a Caesar salad with no croutons because I don’t want any wheat, when I got a call from her because she had escaped her compound.
Compound- is that a special section on Airbnb? Are there super hosts in compounds?
And my friend is very upset, she can’t quite cry, “They are feeding me mush-I’m dehydrated and I’m shitting.”
I wanted to say, “Are you shitting bricks?” But, I didn’t. No, because I am a good person and I don’t kick a friend when she’s down.
But I did say, “Just cash out your retirement savings plan and get out of there.”
Meanwhile, after the call, I got the shits.
Maybe it was in solidarity or maybe because the sous chef didn’t wash her hands, I don’t know, but my point is my shits cost me! $26.50.
Her shits cost her $5600.
That night neither one of us did absolutely any good for anybody.
The country she was in, in Africa was very beautiful, and I am not casting dispersions, but if I ever happen to have another $5600 dollars lying around I will stay home and send the cash so that a village can get clean water.
After that though I wondered what on earth I was doing to make anything better in the world. So I decided to keep it local and volunteer at a local seniors home. When they asked me what my talents were, I said I don’t want to hand out cookies because I will eat them. And if I play cards I am a sore loser. I decided to come in and read them some stories. When you walk in it’s like getting a visit from the ghost of Christmas future.
There was always this woman crying “Get me out of here.”And that is just the personal support workers. One day, I was reading a story and this lady with white hair-comes up and she stands beside me bouncing up and down in one place.)
And there was a man next to her in the front row,
“Sheesh. Irene you ruin every friggin’ thing we do.” I find out later he and Irene were married. Without warning she pulls her skirt over her head. Now listen if you do that as a little kid, your parents pull out their phones and put it on Instagram. But if you are in your second childhood you will get body shamed. Irene, cover up your kootch. I’ve played biker bars that were kinder. There is also this rumour that seniors are having sex to beat the band that is suspect. People say STDs are an epidemic.I think that’s an urban myth, like the one, about the rat that was found in a Big Mac. There was only one rat. And in the nursing home there is only one man and he’s tied into a chair. Unless that’s why he’s in the chair, because he’s worn out, and they want the women to leave him alone.
After the a few times I’d finish my stories, I’d walk around and give out hugs to people in the audience and by the time I got halfway around the circle I met this woman called Keitha who looked at me and said,“What’s your game? Why are you coming in here and hugging me?”
And I said “I guess I’m lonely. I guess I am suffering from existential loneliness and we all need a hug.” so she reluctantly gives me a hug. The next week she brings a friend and when I get to the hugging part and the friend looks at Keitha and says,
“What the hell is she hugging us for?”
To which Keitha snorted, “She’s hugging us- because apparently she suffers from existential loneliness.”
If you want to read parts of my new e-book you can join my membership site to get all the chapters and a lot of videos for one annual price. Plus you will be supporting a senior till she goes to her forever home. Check out the site here.