Ice cream goes a long way
by Jesse Loren
Maybe this is narcissistic. The funny thing for me was the timing. I am going through mom’s things and moving her up to my house because she can no longer live alone. We did all the work of making a room for her, but we still have to move her crap. She’s a hoarder, but I have earned her trust, which makes the job of throwing crap out easier. Yesterday, I had enough. Enough of the fleas, enough of the second-guessing of throwing out the trivial and rusted, and I wanted a clean well-lighted escape.
I made sure mom had food for the night and left. I intended to go find sushi and beer, maybe a massage, and definitely a shower, probably a hotel room, or a drive to my brother’s house.
If you have been around people with dementia, they are lucid sometimes and mean other times. Mom was mean yesterday. I felt like I had it with old people.
Before I could go far, I had to pick up my lupus meds from CVS. They reduce my immune system, but without them, my disease takes over. It’s not something to skip. I hate that I have to take them, but I hate even more what happens when I don’t take them.
An old guy got behind me in line. He was sweet, fragile, deaf in one ear, and OLD. He couldn’t carry his own ice cream.
I offered to hold it for him and he said, “My son carries a lot of weight on him too and doesn’t get cold easily.”
That made me laugh. He just called me fat.
What’s with old people and their need to be honest?
It made me laugh at myself, at my own bad attitude and selfishness. He meant nothing by it, just the pure fact that I have packed on a disturbing amount of weight, enough to insulate me from the cold, not enough to insulate me from feelings.
The line at CVS was slow. He told me about his wife’s rheumatoid arthritis, about how she is aging so much faster than he is, and how she might have to live in an assisted-living facility. When she does, he is going to move her day bed out of his office. He told me that his kids are Fundamentalists and won’t help him or his wife because they are too religious to help others. He told me that he was taught to serve others and respect elders from an early age, but this generation lacks this set of values. The fundamentalists are the worst.
It became my turn. They had my meds, and I still had the guy’s ice cream in my hand at the counter. I bought it and told the cashier to tell him it was from the ice cream fairy. It felt good to do good. It completely lifted my spirits!
Maybe I am writing about this because I am narcissistic and I want everyone to know I am a good person. But maybe I want to share that we are just people slugging it out in the infield of life, and a little ice cream goes a long way.