Senior moments: Part ll


Getting to the Bowie Senior Center proved to be a test of will and fortitude. The drive, less than fifteen minutes on the highway during non-rush hour should have been pleasant enough but I had Miss Cathy in the back seat remember-the killer of all times good.

It’s not that she’s intentionally an annoying companion on the road; I think that being confined in a space with her that’s about as big as my bedroom makes me feel claustrophobic.

Don’t get me wrong I love my car, a 2001 Burgundy PT Cruiser….it’s my lifeline and literally my “getaway” car. I also use it as a “living room” sometimes when I have something intimate or important to do like a private phone call or to write in my journal un-interrupted.

I mean, can you blame me, I’m with my mother seven days a week, twenty four hours a day unless I’m off working somewhere or shopping or heaven for fend I’m out doing something pleasurable for myself like being out on a date or relaxing with friends.

Of course I have plenty of outings and a lot that I do away from the condo, but I’m never gone for long because I don’t like to be away from her for more than five (or eight hours max) and that’s usually reserved for work and not play.

But the point is, I’m never alone..except for when I’m in my car….my PT, my four wheel “safe place”.

My car, I guess, has come to represent one of the few things that’s really “mine” and mine “alone” so I guess I’m hard pressed to share my space when it’s time to put on my chauffeur’s cap and become “Hoke”.

Now that she’s riding in the back she’s given up (more or less) “back seat driving”-cue Alanis Morrisette. It seems that since she can’t see the oncoming traffic she can’t comment or react the way she used to when she was riding shotgun.

I got this little “tony-tip” from my brother and it definitely makes a difference. I’m less apt to daydream about steering the car into a ditch and walking into oncoming traffic as much (so that’s a good thing).

The problem now is that since she has so much room to stretch out in back she’s usually doing something; like emptying out the contents of her purse or snacking or building a bomb for all I know but the noise she creates is just about as irritating as her front seat car talk ever was.

Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld could learn a thing or two about torture from this old woman. The constant sound of her digging through her purse makes the idea of water boarding sound like a facial.

First of all it takes a full five minutes for her to get her seatbelt on. Every time she gets in the car (which in itself is very Cirque du Soleil) she attacks the seatbelt as if it were her adversary, pulling and twisting, all the while keeping up a constant stream of jibber-jabber and bracing herself as I put the car into gear and back out of the parking space.

I had turned on her favorite country music station, as usual, thinking that would lull her into a manageable state of inertia but the twangs and warbles of the Oakridge Boys or Shania were no match for whatever she was determined to find, deep in the bowels of her handbag.

Try as a I may to meditate and focus on something else-like driving (or finding a rock somewhere on the grounds of the center once we got there and beating myself to death) nothing could distract me from the rumbling and fumbling, like the constant drip of Chinese water torture, mind numbing and relentless, as repetitive as her constantly asking me what day of the week it is, all the way to our destination.

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