May 3rd, 2014
On the wall over my lunchroom seat is a carefully framed picture of praying hands with the plea “Father in heaven hear my prayer.” Grandchildren of both workers and inmates race in and out and under dining tables making a great deal of noise. Hearing any prayer is unlikely until dinner is over. Then the TVs up and down the long hallway click on. Talk shows and sports — lots of sports.
This is St Francis Assisted Living. At 72 I may need an assist every so often, but to live in a place like this requires a radical adjustment of my sense of self. First off, I am the youngest of 22 presently in the care of St Francis. I was counting my marbles this morning and after nearly an hour of tallying I came up with 32. What kind of nonsense is this? I can’t possibly explain the rules I made up, but I simply knew I had to have a way to check my wits. Is this any nuttier than a ten point questionnaire that supposedly determines my fitness to own and raise a bull mastiff? Okay, I scored 32 on a scale I made up on the fly in a hot room at ten o’clock in the morning. This is a week dedicated to stupidity. Nothing is supposed to make sense.
In the bathroom across the hall. two strong young Phillippino men are yanking on a toilet seat they seem unable to unseat. A more sensible way would be to get a large screwdriver and a wrench. But what makes me think they haven’t tried that? I’ll tell you exactly what, it’s the way they pronounce “accurate”. Over and over, they both said “ahh-cyu-ahht.” Surely I can’t overlook a mistake of that amplitude then look myself in the mirror. Well, I could, but I wouldn’t want to. Oops, there goes the toilet seat. They pulled it out without a scratch. But you should see the way they high-five. Certainly not the way you’d teach your children to high five. And isn’t that just a little bit braggy? Being a fair-minded man, I have to ask myself what exactly is high-fiveable. I honestly haven’t created a set of rules for that yet.
The sun will soon go down and I will have spent another unproductive week in my new Santa Rosa digs. Rereading what I have written tells me I have been terribly hard — nay unfair — on myself. Dammit, tomorrow I will lighten up. Promise.