Monday, April 19, 2010

Words, fidelities and a 97-year-old BFF?

From MySpace: 08 Apr 07 Sunday

I had a friend who I thought was somewhat shallow share something very deep once. He said: "We do nothing from the goodness of our hearts. It's either from guilt or for glory."
I've been thinking about this lately in regards to a forging relationship. Not a dude. No, my ball and chain is a sweet, lonely little old lady who will do just about anything to hang out with me.
Most of you have heard me talk about Rose.
I met Rose a few weeks ago in the lobby of my apartment building – yes, that house of low-income all-sorts that includes a plethora of drug dealers, escorts, exchange students and the guy with a hook-hand across from me.
Rose introduced herself as 97-years-old, with no family and wanted me to help her walk across the street to a café. I offered her a ride and gave her my card.
Next thing you know it's trips to Wal-Mart for bras, Paul's Motor Inn for Salisbury steak, Wellburn's for TV dinners, Sirens for sweaters and McDonald's for seniors 50 cent coffee day.
When I took her to Med Grill for dinner she whipped out a giant old school magnifying glass to read the menu and I bust out laughing as the bar star servers' jaws dropped at the old lady with the giant eye.
Rose is generally pleasant and kind. She says "God Bless" a lot and loves to ask me about my life. It was pretty funny when she gushed over my fishnet stockings one day, until she asked me where she could get some.
I thought this was kind of weird, as was her lack of memory, history and ability to appear from one era. Most old ladies I know dress in the era they felt most stylish in – which for anyone over 80 usually translates to polyester pants, a big blouse and a curlered hair helmet.
When I first met Rose she was wearing white yoga pants, a red '80s corduroy jacket, fanny pack and gold banana clip. Imagine this on someone with no teeth, like Mother Theresa the Jazzercise version.
She would also tell me nothing about her life. Only that she never married, had children and didn't regret "doing something stupid like get tied down caring for somebody else all the time."
Hearing this rant from someone semi-stalking a stranger 60 years their junior for a coffee or a ride just reassured my desire to one day birth many a child if only for the guarantee of friends.
But I could tell there was a back story there with Rose, so I wasn't too surprised when her pastor, Marc, called me up to let in me in a few details before I took on more Rose than I could handle. But he did drop a few shockers.
Rose is actually 85. She has dementia and is schizophrenic. Until a few years ago she was living on the streets, distraught and aimless after the state took trusteeship of the money she inherited – apparently a considerable sum.
Marc and his wife helped her get into a mental ward and thought she could live there until a few visits revealed, "It was a hell-hole full of vegetables," he said.
So they hooked her up with an apartment and she's been doing pretty well since – minus the crazy boredom.
Which, I guess, is where I've come in. Marc wanted to know how big a role on Team Rose I wanted to play. I told him I couldn't commit to any responsibility for her, but I'd take her out once a week.
Besides my newly adopted World Vision child, I don't do much for anybody. And what's an hour or two a week anyway: One less yoga class, CSI episode, Value Village browse? Rose is just as entertaining.

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