Thursday, August 20, 2009

Movie Quotes

Sadly, I have once again learned that life is not like the movies. Always a disapointment, I've found that having children, getting married, are not at all like the movies. Now I'm discovering that the Hollywood cliche of old people with hidden gems (either literal or figurative) is also a lot of hot air. In movies like "Tuesdays with Morrie" or "Harold and Maude" , the old people have great life lessons to share with us. Remember "Fried Green Tomatoes" where the Kathy Bates character meets a quirky, yet charming old woman, the Jessica Tandy character, in a nursing home? The old woman tells a life empowering story that helps the younger woman find a deeper, richer life. Now that I've logged a few hours with the residents of the nursing homes I can tell you with authority that the likelihood of having a resident tell you a life-enriching story are slim. Here is an actual transcript of my conversion with Fran one evening.

Setting: Interior my home, it has been very hot, and I'm trying to get Fran to drink some cold water.

F: I can't very well drink it, it's too big a place. [translation: too big a glass]

J: Hmm.

F: Do you think that would work?

J: Hmm.

F: I'll have to get my pants off. (Fran gets up, wanders towards door, kicks my foot) Oops, did I touch somebody's toe? I didn't mean to. (Hands me the glass) Here's some of this you can drink, if you'd like to.

J: I don't want to drink it.

F: What did you think? About getting this put into your program, it's got too much in it (hears Steven in kitchen) wonder what they're cooking. I'll go see. (gets up, looks at glass) That's an awful lot to drink. (sits down)

J: It's for you.

F: OK, I'll drink it down, but. . . would you like some of it? There's quite a bit of it in it. (puts glass on the floor) I just left it down the stairs. (picks up glass, drinks it) All out. We 'll put in one of your other things, in the kitchen.

J: What do you do in the kitchen?

F: Oh yeah. It's something that you stick up in your room, and everybody finds out. I try not to say things that are too funny, but they do bounce around. [telling me she has trouble finding words]

J: OK.

F: Can I do anything for your city? I'd like to go with you and do something with you. But I realize you have business to attend to and it makes it harder for you.

J: Thanks. What would you do?

F: I do sometimes if there's something new and it makes me makes me stop and think about it. I'm not as cold and hot as I was before. [she's telling me how hard it is to focus on what's happening]

J: Is that good?

F: For what?

J: Is having it cold or hot, good or bad?

F: I don't know what good or bad means. (looking at my laptop) It's probably DELL.

J: Who?

F: I don't know, somebody outside. (hears the neighbor boy skateboarding) They're throwing boards around, I think.

J: Hmm.

F: Did you want to appeal to this thing (holding glass) that this gentleman wants you to buy? [communicating her worry that I not get taken advantage of] And if I have a leaky nose I should have some kind of fluid that goes with it? [hates to have a runny nose, wants the Claritin nasal spray she used to take]

J: Hmm.

F: What are you reading?


So there you have it. Nothing exciting to hear. No deep dark (You are Stalin's love child) secrets revealed. No profound utterances of pure knowledge (The meaning of life is. . .) spill from her lips. Fran didn't have much brilliant life insight when she was young and healthy, why would that magically change in old age? I reckon that if Buddha were spending his golden years at the Sunny Meadows Assisted Living Facility, his old age ramblings might contain some bon mots.

Setting: Sunny Meadows Assisted Living Facility this evening.

Buddha, room 209: "Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity."

Lamira, caregiver, evening shift: "Oh Mr. Buddha, you want to raise your arms? PJs on? Everybody go to bed now! See Mr. Jesus? Already sleeping!"

Buddha: "The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed."

Lamira, fake laughing, "Very funny Mr. Buddha, good night Mr. Buddha!" Turns out light, exits room.

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