Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hijinks Over the Hill

Going back a couple of weeks, remembering encounters with various people—elderly people. I wrote in a post called “Club Dead” on January 8 that life along my stretch of beach has been in large part taken over by winter visitors, ‘snowbirds’ here from colder climes. As it happens, things were just getting started and were a pale preview of the action (or is it inaction?) around here now. The weeks since arrival have allowed a long list of activities to blossom. Bingo was the start, but now there is poker, shuffleboard, game night, cookouts, mahjong, cocktail parties, three-hole golf and shopping lunches. The calendar and sign up sheet on the clubhouse bulletin board is so elaborate it must have been created by a professional.

As for cocktail parties, one of my friends from Cleveland was here and thought it might be fun. The designated starting time was 4:30 p.m. around the pool. Everything of course was BYO, so about ten before five we walked out to the pool with a bottle of wine and a platter of cheese and crackers. The crowd looked a little thin when we got there, and a couple of ladies in cocktail leisure suits were busy wrapping snacks in Saran wrap. One of the two looked up at us standing stupidly there with wine and crackers and explained, “We’re just picking things up now, about to go in. Most folks wanna get to the dinner table soon.” Lisa and I waited to get back inside before laughing about a thirty-minute drinks party.

An encounter this morning…

Two old guys were sitting out on the oceanfront deck, cane and walker parked nearby. They watched me coming up from the beach, and before I could shake a foot free of sand they began a conversation.

CODGER A: “Now, I hear you were over in Japan for some years. What’s the exchange rate now? When I was there back in 1948 it was 360 yen to the dollar. Has it dropped any?”

ME: “Uh…”

CODGER B: “I was there in 1945 myself. Has Tokyo changed much to speak of?”

CODGER A: “Somebody told me a cup of coffee costs $10.00. Bet you’re glad to be outta such an expensive place, huh?”

CODGER B: “Did you like it over there? How’d you talk or understand anything? Why hell, I wouldn’t be able to so much as buy a bottle of milk.”

In a change of scene, one of the posts from mid-January was about an elderly woman I had some bad vibes from while visiting my friend Angela in the nursing home. The bad vibes came from an eighty-five year-old who told me to get the hell out and take the crap I was reading with me. This happened when I asked her to turn the volume down on The Wheel of Fortune. She later got moved out of Angela’s room for continued orneriness and bad language. Visiting Angela again yesterday I got the latest news. The former roommate—call her Jezebel—was apparently none too happy in her new room, because inside of two days she smashed the television, threw a chair through the window glass, and somehow managed to climb out and hobble off down the street in her open-at-the-back hospital gown. The nursing home aides tackled her two blocks later and wrestled her kicking and screaming back to base. Word from Angela is that they sent her straight to Halifax House for Incorrigible Seniors. Bars on the windows, straps on the beds and ankle bracelets of the kind Martha Stewart made famous.

Life is lively around here.


  1. Whoa. Sounds like good stuff to incorporate in a novel! And I like that some people don't want to go quietly but kicking and screaming the whole way. "Jezabel" must have been a fire cracker before the dementia set in.

    You are very good at capturing dialog, by the way.

  2. Happy to know you are fitting in so well with the Slightly Senile & Incorrigible Seniors. Half-hour cocktails parties require youthful chug-a-lugging in order to break the ice before discussing the relative merits of tennis balls on the legs of walkers. Just remember, old friend, I WILL pull the plug when it is time.

  3. You omitted the cookout last night while we were under a tornado warning. So, has Tokyo changed much since 1945??? I guess they had to clean up a bit after all that bombing that went on. Wonder what those gentlemen would think of the bicycle tree? It's definitely an interesting dynamic around here in the winter. It's like living in a new place each season - and it has nothing to do with the weather.


About Me

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America