Growing old is not easy. And for the younger types who live or work with the elderly, seeing old age up close is a daily reminder of what's to come. It's not pretty, people, let me tell you.
Take hearing, for example. My mother needs hearing aids. Sometimes she chooses to wear them, sometimes not. Even when she wears them, she misses a lot of sound going on around her. I can imagine that it's very isolating.
She doesn't hear bits of conversation. When she's upstairs, she can't hear people arriving through the front door. She startles easily because she has no warning of anyone approaching.
And that's when she's wearing them. On the days she doesn't wear the hearing aids, she's practically deaf. You can stand directly in front of her, speak loudly and clearly, and she still won't hear. You have to yell loudly to get through.
This is tiresome for all involved, as you may well guess. It also led to the "hooker/hotel" incident, as I call it, which is one of those stories that's great to tell after, but was hell to live through.
So here it is: Anthony and I play in a band. We get gigs with our band-mates at various Kookytown pubs.
My mother attended our last gig, at the somewhat grotty K-town Klub, where she was carefully chaperoned by two of my friends who took her home after the second set, while Anthony and I lingered to share a drink with other friends.
When we got home in the wee hours, tired and famished to the bone, a bit tipsy and dressed like two rock-star wannabe's, the door was locked.
My mother was sound asleep, and the kids were at their father's house for the night. We were locked out, and I mean locked-out-GOOD. Which was disconcerting to say the least. All we wanted to do was pig-out and fall into bed. Yet here we were, shivering in the cold night air, listening to our stomachs growl.
Me: (trying to come across as serious, though dressed in skin-tight jeans, white go-go boots and a knee-length royal-purple suede jacket that looked like it came out of the costume trunk for Pirates of the Caribbean) "Why don't you have your house-key?"
Anthony: (teeth clenched, pork-pie hat askew as he gazed sky-ward, aiming stones at my mother's darkened window) "Why did you lock the garage?"
We have a spare key in the garage. Anthony had actually lent my mother his house-key so she could get in before we came home that night. I had locked the garage because of my mother's persistent insistence on it as a security measure. And she, of course, had locked the front door behind her after my friends dropped her off.
We rang the doorbell, pounded with our fists, tossed stones at her window until I was sure it would crack, and even phoned home from Anthony's cell-phone. We peered through the front-door window, watching and hearing the hallway phone ringing through the door.
An extension phone sits right on my mom's bed side table. I could envision it ringing off the hook as we shivered in the deepening night, hoping against hope that she'd hear it.
No such luck. She was out of it; a bit drunk, without hearing aids, and probably under the influence of her much-loved sleeping tablets.
Eventually, we took ourselves off to the Travelodge, where the matronly woman snoozing behind the desk took one horrified look at us, assumed we were pimp and hooker, and promptly doubled the going rate of $90/night to $180. Just for us, because we are soooo special. Brings a tear to my eye just thinking of it.
After skulking to the room (it was now around 3:30am) we lay sleepless until 9 or so, when we tried calling my mother again. Still no answer.
We looked helplessly at eachother, knowing she usually sleeps until noon.
I called my son at his father's place.
Me: "Alex, do you have your house key?"
Me: "Never-mind why! Do you have it?"
Alex: "I'll tell you if you tell me."
Me: "Granny locked us out. We're at the Travelodge and can't get into the house."
Alex: "Cool. Yeah, I have my key." (at this point Alex turned his mouth from the phone receiver and screamed: "DAD!!! MOM AND ANTHONY WERE LOCKED OUT ALL NIGHT BY GRANNY! THEY'RE COMING OVER TO GET MY KEY!)
I hear the sounds of an ex-husband laughing explosively.
Now, you have to understand that Alex's father doesn't even live in Kookytown. No, he lives in an entirely different city. One that, thankfully, is only about 1/2 hour from the Travelodge.
So Anthony and I proceeded to drive to Ex-City. I swallowed my by-now extremely injured pride, sashayed up their driveway in my hooker outfit, picked up the key while attempting to ignore the stares and giggles of the Ex's trophy-wife, and we headed back to Kookytown.
At exactly 10:30am, we let ourselves in. There was no visual sighting of my mother, but enormous sound waves in the shape of moose snores filtered through the ceiling, so we knew she slept on. We prepared and devoured a huge breakfast of bacon and eggs, flung ourselves into bed, and immediatley fell into deep comas until 2pm.
When we arose, my mother was finally up.
She: "Well, aren't you two the sleepy-heads? Hehehehehee!"
We: "Errrr. Yeah."
She: "I slept just grandly! Didn't hear you come home at all last night. What time did you get in?"
Anthony: "Oh, it was late....really....late.
My mother chewed her toast and jam and grinned.