Given my love of the geriatric crowd *ahem*, you would think that I would be finished with the senior trips forever. However, in the interest of spending quality time with my grandmother and doing activities with her that she finds meaningful, I recently found myself attending yet another fun filled senior citizen day trip!
The day started when we met the senior group at their church. A group of teeny, tiny old folks were huddled under an umbrella, chatting and waiting for the little bus to arrive. Immediately, one tiny woman caught my eye. She was very, very small. She could easily wear child clothing and shoes, and I doubt she even weighed 80 pounds. But that was not what caught my eye. This dear woman, who I will call Martha, looked exactly like this:
[Insert the "Psycho" music here.]
Change the hair, and you know exactly, EXACTLY what Martha looked like. She'd clearly had a poor nose job and her lips were spread too thinly. She was like a car accident. I couldn't look away, even when I wanted to. Frankly, Martha scared me!
We got on the tiny bus and the driver came down the aisle to ensure that we were all buckled in. I was introduced to the crowd and then had to hear stories from them all about when they were in school. Old people love to tell me teacher stories. There was a group of women who continued talking when the group leader was trying to address all the bus riders (they probably couldn't hear her) and one of the old women got mad and yelled "HUSH!" at them. I knew it was going to be a good day.
Finally, we were off! To the local historical society we were headed! At the historical society we were greeted by a woman dressed in clothing from the late 1800's. She took her job very seriously, even when the group of loud talking old ladies didn't listen to a word she said. We toured some gardens in a local park but the mood was ruined by a group of women working out together blasting "Burn, baby burn" on their radio over and over. Not only was it distracting, I kept wondering why they didn't play the entire song? We also were interrupted by a homeless man searching for cans. Yes, this definitely helped me visualize what life was like in the late 1800's. Sure.
Being a foot taller than everyone else, I tried to remain at the back of the group so the shorties could see. I was also slightly embarrassed at my grandmother who kept worming her way to the front of the group and then wildly waving her arms shouting "Non-Mommy! Come up here!" But the entire trip was ruined for me when I'd glance over and accidentally see Martha.
She scared me! Every time I looked at her I had to stifle the urge to yell "Run! Save yourselves!" at the children playing in the park. I had to remind myself that she was just a scary little 80+ year old and not REALLY Michael Jackson.
We went inside a barn for the next part of the tour. Wow. A barn. I was underwhelmed at best. They also were very excited to see that the local plaster chicken from a fried chicken restaurant was safely housed in this barn. Are you kidding me? Excited about a dumb plaster chicken? We then took a tour of a house and were ushered to the dining room for a delightful tea.
The tea is when this trip got REALLY interesting. My grandmother and I were seated with four others at a table. One was a man who really couldn't hear, one was a 90 year old who was a cracker jack (I would have sworn she was late 70's), one was a very athletic and funny woman, and then...then there was Dorothy. Dorothy was supremely, profoundly deaf. She can't use sign language and she can't read lips. She communicates by having people write to her on a notepad. Unfortunately for me, there were two problems: 1) Dorothy didn't have her notepad and 2) she was sitting directly next to me.
The waitress came with two tea choices. She asked Dorothy what she wanted and Dorothy shouted "I can't hear a word you say!" Dorothy then looked at me for help. I yelled "Do you want Earl Grey?" She still didn't understand, so I mouthed emphatically "EARL GREY!"
"I still can't hear a word you say!"
"Just give her Earl Grey!" I snapped.
Next, the waitress brought out cucumber sandwiches. I can't STAND cucumber. I was destined for a hungry day. When she brought out those sandwiches, I just had a gut feeling that dessert would involve my arch nemesis, strawberries. But first, we received two mini quiches. You know, those tiny little quiches you can buy at Costco or Sam's Club. They are the size of a Reese's peanut butter cup. The old people, who appear to be able to survive on minimal food, were thrilled. What a great lunch! I, on the other hand, could feel my body eating its own muscle and fat in order to survive the hunger strike.
Throughout the lunch, Dorothy would tap me on the shoulder and shout "I can't hear a word you say!" Good thing she couldn't read my lips, or my mind. It wouldn't have been pretty. She would periodically tap me on the shoulder and make conversation that I was unable to respond to. She must have told me 50 times that she never knew those little tongs were for sugar cubes. She thought they were for olives. I would just smile and try to respond "I can't hear a word you say!"
My favorite part of the lunch was when the people at the table literally ripped their hearing aids out of their ears and discussed the benefits of their particular hearing device. At this point, I'd rather be sitting with scary Martha.
Finally, FINALLY our hostess brought out dessert. Strawberries. I just knew it. All foods I can't stand. I was getting weak with hunger and was about to bite off Dorothy's finger the next time she tapped me. The old people were thrilled. What a filling lunch!
How do they survive? I mean really? They are full on 1/4 of a cucumber sandwich, two mini quiches and some strawberries?
We got back on the bus and Dorothy sits behind me. She won't leave me alone because now I am apparently her BFF. Probably because I smiled at her and didn't yell at her "Shut up, old lady!" I was getting car sick, but my green pallor didn't seem to stop the tapping. She told me things like "Oh look, a two headed dog!" or "Aren't you glad we didn't fly on this trip?" and my favorite "I can't believe I didn't know that those tongs were for sugar cubes!"
I nearly wet my pants when I had to say goodbye to Martha:
I haven't slept since. Between Martha, Dorothy and all the old people, it was a rough, rough day.
The things I do for my grandmother.