“I pray that I should die”, Al said at dinner.
He was a newcomer at the Senior Living Residence were we lived for 1 1/2 years. People often moved there because of physical problems; they had no nursing care, but plenty of social activity and services for the basically ambulatory.
Al was a serious Catholic with some heart problems that called for regular oxygen intake. His ego (he says) did not permit him to bring oxygen into the meals. He made the long trek to the elevator and struggled, breathing hard, down the hall to the dining room. His exit was even tougher, because of the effort to carry on conversations at the table. When he left ; he was out of there, breathing like he had just swum the channel.
I have tried to understand the nature and focus of his exchange at the table. He was an attorney for many years. This suggests why he might appear a bit more confrontational, posing questions to which he knew the answers. I reasoned that it was to determine the level of a persons intellect as soon as possible. Then he would indulge in a sort of demo of himself by quoting poetry, other recitations, and a travelogue of his extensive travels. It was not that he wasn’t personable, but rather, pretentious. and a lot of work to keep up with.
I noted that his voluntary dining partners would move away frequently. In fact, I also needed a breather from time to time.
I’m sure that, in some ways, he is like many of us. We “are” what we were, what we have done, and where we have lived. There is a kind of tedium that results from that kind of qualification. We can soften things by inquiry into other peoples background, but too often the demo is done and people have made a negative judgement.
In Al’s case, he may have been just composing a kind of mental obituary. He must have just surrendered all to eternity in all of this recitation. His recall and response was impeccable.
As for me, if you want my best answer for anything; secure it before 3:00 in the afternoon.
Other than that; (cast not the first stone)…. I will try hard to be humble (a huge task in it’s self).
I will leave it to others to write my obituary…. but, they are just going to have to wait ’til “my cows come home” to deliver it.
Ask another old person what that means Don’t ask Al……….. He didn’t care to wait!