Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Comfort of Lunacy


I've mentioned before I have this kind of face. Total strangers come up to me and confide secrets:sadness, joy and everything in between.

I was at the deli section of my local grocery story today. I love how delis have adapted to aging single people. Love how I can get a 1/2 cooked chicken for $5. Local and kinda organic too. I wonder about their demise as chicken catcher jobs are frequently advertised in the local papers. I envision these lithe young people hoisting butterfly nets and chasing unwilling birds around the green fields of our enormous local chicken farm giving me the illusion of chickens with a sporting chance of escape. But I digress.

This old man stood beside me and asked me how my eyes were. I said grand. He asked me to read him some labels off the 1/2 price deli items. I obliged. It truly astonishes me the number of old people I know who refuse to wear their glasses or have inadequate contact lenses. I read for them a lot. Large store banners, worrisome traffic signs, library book spines, etc. But I digress again.

OM: Oh I could tell you my life story.
Me: Really? (not really interested, want to get home)
OM: I used to be a train driver on the Newfoundland Railways.
Me: Seriously? (I love railways, old abandoned, spanking new, riding the rails has been a joyful part of my life, he's got me)
OM:Yes, I was a train driver for 35 years, could tell you the names of all the little stations on the route. And then I was a worker here in Sobey's, a meat cutter for 25 years. See I know all the people in the butchering department (and he waves at them). I was forced to retire at 65, not too long ago. I loved my job.
Me:Interesting life indeed (having done the math on his life, I realized he was around 5 when he took over the trains of Newfoundland).
OM: You don't know the half of it. I also played banjo with Great Big Sea and I was featured on CBC with these artistic key rings.

And without a pause, he hauls out of his pockets a series of shortened bicycle chains with small key rings attached to their ends.

OM:See, they're works of art. Individual pieces. A lot of work. After the CBC show I sold 10,000 of them.
Me: Oh well done! Now my husband's waiting for his supper so I have to leave you, goodbye!




11 comments:

  1. Sorry to correct you on one point, WWW. It's not that people don't wear the correct corrective glasses/lenses. There are eye conditions like, say, macular degeneration. It blurs vision, limits the field of vision and isn't correctable/reversable. I know this because I have spent many an hour in the waiting room of our eye clinic talking to my fellow patients. Patients 99 % much older than me. Heart rending stories of loss of sight. You can identify them almost always by the fact that they have someone accompanying them. And before you ask. My eye condition was correctable and has been surgically corrected. I am as good as new. Better than I was at age eleven. But, as so often, if you haven't been there and walked the mile in another's shoe it's difficult to appreciate how tough life can be for others. To put it another way: The fear of the living daylights was put into me talking to these oldsters.

    Other than that: Yes, some old people are lonely. Any pretext to talk to you - if you come across as approachable - will do. I remember, it's a few years ago now, when this tiny little old man caught my attention. Cornershop. We'd talk a little - every single time. Sometimes it appeared as if he was waiting for me. And then, one day, he propped himself up on his toes and planted a tiny butterfly of a kiss on my cheek. It was the last time I saw him before he died.

    U

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    1. You could be right U with him but with others I know it is vanity and I don't understand it, they feel glasses are aging and would rather squint than wear graduated lenses (I do). Vanity be damned. I fear for their driving as I know they own spectacles. Somewhere.

      Definitely he was lonely but living in a bubble of delusion with his key rings and invented history. I do have sympathy for him and he was very happy.

      I love your story of the wee old man.

      XO
      WWW

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  2. Awwww! Bless 'im - he was a legend in his own lunchtime! Well played at the end WWW!

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    1. Extricacting can be difficult at times, T but easy with strangers you don't know my Nigel is my lunacy, LOL.

      XO
      WWW

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    2. I have to slow down, I have to slow down. *extricating *who

      XO
      WWW

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  3. Everyone needs a little lunacy in their life to keep things interesting.
    (My brother in law has macular degeneration. It started about 10 years ago and despite every possible treatment, he is virtually blind now.)

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    1. That is so sad Florence. I've heard it is incurable. I'm definitely a lunatic and misfit and I do tell people that. It certainly makes the world more interesting.

      XO
      WWW

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  4. Everybody has a story but listeners are few and far between.

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    1. I agree Joared. Giving the gift of our time is the greatest gift.

      XO
      WWW

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  5. It's sweet that you let him tell you a little about his life and smart that you had an out ready to go.

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  6. I often think I may be in that boat myself some day, SAW. Even now, I find I am somewhat invisible anywhere I go, which can be a good thing but at times it makes me sad. So I relate to all old trying to make themselves interesting. Just reaching out.

    XO
    WWW

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