A little TMI for you.
After my dad’s eyesight went, and he’d fallen getting out of bed in the middle of the night a couple of times, the home staff decided to put him on the memory-care ward because that was where they could better look after him. It meant he was surrounded by people in various states of decline who generated moments of humor and pathos in—well, not equal measure, but with enough differentiation that there were a few lighter moments to be found if you looked for them hard enough.
During our visits, Mr. Feldman used to wander in now and again. A resident who was in pretty good physical shape, comparatively speaking, he was still mobile and steady on his feet. His trademark uniform was a shirt-and-boxers combo, and he inhabited a mental space that was half addled and half spoiling for a fight. Whatever you said to him, no matter how pleasant, he’d usually respond with an ornery, “Yeah?” while looking you up and down as if trying to figure out if he could take you. Then he’d stick around until he’d gotten his fill of glaring at everyone and make his exit.
Now, the boxers. I figured that given his score on the cantankerous scale, the people caring for him had probably long since given up on trying to get him to wear pants. And he was otherwise harmless enough. Well, except for that time someone in a wheelchair disappeared, causing a minor panic, and it turned out he’d come upon them in the hall and wheeled them to another part of the wing before wandering off and leaving them there.
But he and Dad are both gone now, and I digress.
On my day off, I rode to Staples in a steady rain because we needed Sodastream carbonator refills, and the break in the weather I’d been waiting for wasn’t going to come. So I just got wet.
Returning home, I, being a paragon of pragmatism, traded my soaked biking shoes and socks for Tevas, hung my shorts up over the shower, and left the performance-fabric shirt and underwear on to dry while being worn. I mean, hey—nobody else around, right?
I banged away at the computer for a bit, then looked down at my rainwater-damp wicking boxer-briefs and started to laugh. For a second, I wanted someone there to talk to, just so I could scowl at them suspiciously and respond to whatever they had to say with, “Yeah?”
I am Mr. Feldman.
As are we all, ultimately.
Image credit: wheelchairs by GeorgeTan#4