Thursday, April 9, 2009

People Look At You Differently When You Are With Someone Old

Wednesday was the DISH installation day.

My mother-in-law wanted me to be there since she is hearing impaired and this is a little technological and the installers are usually about 60 or 70 years her junior.

She had a hearing aid but the dog ate it -- well -- maybe just chewed it up. But she said it didn't work all that well anyway and she really did not "need" another.

Since I was already there she needed to visit the grocery store by the way. And she needed some more dog food so a Petsmart trip might be in order as well. I had to return to the office or a few minutes so I told her I'd do the Petsmart then.

I'm a fast shopper at Petsmart. I really didn't need to go to the office but Best Buy where I had to get something fixed. I thought my Best Buy trip would be more dropping off but they fixed it while I waited. I am more imressed with Best Buy the more I use them. What I used them for will be the subject of another blog entry.

Then I went to Petsmart in the same center. That center is across Interstate 35 from the farm and my office. Did you ever notice how Interstates are a lot like the rivers of old?

It took me about 10 minutes in Petsmart to get about $90 worth of dog food. That's about a month for my mother-in-law's dogs.

But that happened after the DISH fellow's visit. He showed up at noon after they called my mother-in-law's number. She called me. I guess the part of the instruction about DISH calling me didn't quite work out.

He looked to be about the age of one of my older grandchildren. He set his orange work cones arond his van. Kind of funny to me to see the cones sitting there in the driveway of the farm. He told me right away that he couldn't climb on roofs. I protected him from the dogs in the yard and the one in the house and showed him the tv that required a receiver.

I wondered how many circa 1900 farm houses he had installed DISH in.

He did a good job. I found out he was a little afraid of wasps, too.

He reminded me of me about 40 years ago. While he was perched precariously on the ladder with both hands full trying to do something or other he received a cell phone call from his wife. I suspected it when he ended the conversation with "I love you" and he later confirmed it. He had an iPhone and his work issued phone.

He got all the programming done and tried to make the DISH remote turn the tv on and off. Couldn't do that but he did manage to make one of the others work that way.

"We" learned his name and signed the contract and he left. I left, too, with a promise to return shortly for our grocery safari. Which I returned for in about 90 minutes.

It reminded me of caregiving for my parents at first. Helping her in the car and getting the seatbelt around and locking it the first time. Then parking close as I could to the store so she wouldn't have to walk as far. She walks pretty good except slowly.

That's when I first noticed how people look at you when you're with someone of her vintage.

Not everyone does but many all the same. They give you this kind of "I know what your'e doing is like" look that somehow conveys the thought with no verbalization at all. Some people spoke kindly to my companion. You know in that kind of talk that we reserve for the elderly. It must be the equivalent of baby talk for seniors I guess. But my motherinlaw didn't hear any of that for the most part.

I thought to myself every time it happened that in just a few more years they'll be treating me this way. And I thought I should try to remember it for later when it happens. Then that makes me think of things I remember telling myself to remember as a kid. Except I remember telling myself but not what it was.

She's used to shopping with her daughter. Daughters are more leaders than son-in-laws are apparently. I waited for her to lead and I'd push the basket following. She kept waiting for me to lead and she'd follow. Except I had no idea what she wanted and that makes it hard to buy stuff in a grocery store.

She's particular about stuff. She wanted some pimentoes and I found some that were sliced. But she wanted diced. We couldn't find any. She wanted corn meal in a cylinder shaped box. We couldn't find that either. There were other things like that.

She's also curious about things and needs to touch stuff besides look at it. I wondered if she had always been that way or if this was new. I wondered if I would do this, too.

At the checkout she used cash -- to the penny. She had trouble making out the difference between quarters and nickels and handed me her billfold with the change purse part open. The youthful cashier waited patienly while the line behind us lengthened.

"Oh, can we also go to the hardware store? And I would like to buy a few things at Braum's, too." And we could and we did.

And everywhere people for the most part were kind and considerate and gave me the knowing look.

People look at you differentlyw hen you ware with an old person.


susie mccoll said...

I'm just curious. What is she buying pimentos for? and cornmeal? In my 18 years now as an adult, I've never even known you could buy these items. The only pimento I've ever even heard of is "pimento cheese", and the only time I ever wanted that was when I was pregnant (don't remember which kiddo)..but just pimento? didn't know it existed. And cornmeal? What do you use that for? I guess this shows my severe lack of knowledge in the culinary department.

flintysooner said...

Pimentos were for potato salad and deviled eggs as I recall. We also bought parsley, the hunt for which could have been its own entry.

Cornmeal for corn bread. (I make my cornbread from a mix that I add stuff to liberally!) She makes hers from scratch.

She also wanted "light red" kidney beans instead of "dark red" and I didn't know there was a difference.

¸.•*´)ღ¸.•*´Chris said...

People do tend to look at you differently when you are with someone older. I know when I was working at the store, I always thought how sweet it was of the younger kids who would take the time to take their grandparents out grocery shopping, keep their patience and help them along. I would always tell them what a thoughtful grandson/granddaughter they were.

You are a thoughtful son-in-law, Flinty. And a wonderful person:)