I saw the old people again (See here for background). One more outing with the volunteer coordinator next week and they turn me loose, solo with the old farts. I’m looking up geriatric strippers and donkey shows on The Google. We will need to celebrate the new era at the men’s group.
This will be an interesting endeavor. Last time was pretty straight forward as a meet and greet. This week was a little more of the same, but also some expanded conversations beyond the where are you from questions and revelations about what body parts don’t work so well anymore.
One guy I thought was fully capacitated last time is actually a few fries short of a Happy Meal. He likes to repeat the last word or two of every other sentence you say. Somebody was telling a story and he’d pipe in with his verbal affirmations that are a little loopy but also prove his is a fabulous listener. Plus, he mimicked hand gestures.
The story and his affliction went something like this:
Story Teller: “We quickly turned the car around because we saw a big bear.”
Man Going Mad: “Big bear!”
Story Teller: “We got closer and the bear saw us coming toward him.” She leaned closer on the table and said, “We were afraid it was a hungry Grizzly!”
Man Going Mad: He leaned closer on the table and said, “Grizzly!”
Story Teller: Ignoring Man Going Mad she said, “The bear turned away and crossed over a bridge to a bigger road where lots of other cars were parked. Suddenly, people jumped in their cars…”
Man Going Mad: Interrupting with, “Cars!”
Story Teller: “…. and started driving behind the bear like he was leading a parade.” She cupped her hands on the table and moved them along like they were cars in a parade.
Man Going Mad: “Parade!” He swooshed his hands along the table.
Different Old Guy: “Did you see any wolves?”
Man Going Mad: “Wolves!”
Story Teller: “We did see some wolves.”
Different Old Guy: “Sounds like that story by Jack London.”
Man Going Mad: “Jack London! Jack London!”
Me: “Into the Wild.”
Man Going Mad: “Into the Wild. Jack London.”
This went on for an hour. I don’t know how I missed it last time. Additionally, Man Going Mad is very religious. He makes a guttural sound when anyone says something remotely racy. It sounds like Scooby Doo confused. One old man joked about dating one of his daughter’s friends. Man Going Mad raised his eyebrows and said from the bottom of his gut, “Mmmeeeeehhhhhhhhhhh?
I have a feeling this will be a very intimate experience where hopefully the benefits will far outweigh the difficulties. The ex football player and Vietnam Vet told me he is trying to move back home to the Southeast. I had already taken a strong liking to him last time and will be sad to see him go. I will miss him, but it is easier because he is going on his own free will.
All of these men have some kind of physical and/or mental problem that will likely only get worse. Most of them will be leaving because they need more intensive care. I will have to learn to handle that. If I’m making a positive difference for them now, then it will be worth it later when its time to say goodbye.
But that won’t be easy.
Man Going Mad: Shaking head, “Not easy!”