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January 15, 2011

The Little Old Lady I Am Destined To Become


My daughter and I had recently moved to a different state and were just settling in there. Instead of taking our car, I left the car with her sister who lived on campus at university. My son already had a car.

So daughter and I proceeded to find a used car in the new small town in the state we had not lived in previously. Some very nice people pointed us in the direction of a man who sold cars as his father had done before him.

We picked out a car, paid in cash, went on our way. Two days later as were trying to find our way from one town to another town out in the farm areas with no street signs, the engine died. Plenty of gas. No sign of engine heating. That was about all I knew to check for.

Daughter and I got out and walked to where there were houses. We knocked on a door. No answer. Next house. No answer. Next house, an elderly gentleman answered the door, timidly listening to our dilema, but holding the door partly closed. I had no way to call anyone, and this man was not able to help us as he was too old to drive. Actually I remember thinking, thank goodness he would not be out on the streets driving as shaky as he was.

My daughter who was fourteen at the time did her little please help us we are stranded and new to town routine and got the man to let us in to use his phone. As soon as we stepped into the house a woman screamed. "Who are these people and why did you let them in?" Yikes.

He pointed to the phone on a small table and we called the only people we knew who owned a business in town and had to interrupt the scene behind us between husband and wife long enough to be able to tell our friend where we were. She said she would be there as soon as she could. Whew.

Then the man began wiping down the woman's wheel chair, kept rubbing it all over as if in his nervousness at what seemed to be her usual behavior. The woman put her arm on the arm of the wheel chair while he was adjusting things in her chair and talking soothingly and quietly to her and he did not see that her arm was now right where he started rubbing.

The skin on the woman's arm was paper thin. Transparent. Bony wrists. As the cloth moved over the skin on the woman's wrist, the skin rolled back and blood slowly oozed out. Dang.

The woman began simpering and moaning. She scolded the man and asked him why couldn't he watch what he was doing. His eyes behind the coke bottle glasses looked like they would pop out of the sockets. He was in shock. He began wiping at the bloody wrist with the dirty cloth.

My daughter and I looked at each other and silently agreed that we wanted out of there. I quietly thanked them for the use of their phone and she and I walked out the front door and walked a couple houses away to wait for our friend. We don't think the older man and woman even noticed our departure.

My daughter and I talked about that elderly couple many times over the years. It was a touching scene and it felt like we were intruding on something intimate between the husband and wife.

Now that I am in a private and personal relationship and getting up in years it seems natural to see myself with hubby twenty years from now, not driving, helping each other as best we can, in sickness and in health you know, and attending to each others needs, devoted to a cherished and faithful relationship.

Oh yeah, the car? I called the car salesman and told him he had to take the car back and give me a reliable car. He told me that wasn't how it was done, I bought it as is. I told him I would never leave him alone until he made it right. What, I paid a thousand dollars a day for a car and then had no transportation? No way. In the end I got a different and better car.

Note: Illusion graphic found on Google.

47 comments:

Shadow said...

through thick and thin. somehow comforting to know. don't see that very often these days, do we...

Dave King said...

Excellent post. Everybody's nightmare, I guess, but it becomes more real as the night wears on!

Brian Miller said...

smiles. yeah me too, now...

savannah said...

all good things to you both, sugar! cherish every day. xooxo

Lori said...

What a great story...having someone to grow old with is such a beauiful gift and one I do not take lightly. I am glad you have someone like this.

I don't know why I hadn't noticed the quote on your header before today but I really love that quote about being a victor without having victims...what a blessing to read that this morning. Happy weekend. XX

Brian Miller said...

thank you techno....

Eileen said...

Glad you didn't get stuck with that car, good for you not giving in!

And I can see myself being that little old lady, and it's making me feel bad for my husband!
Think I can change almost thirty-eight years of 'controlling, nagging wife' behavior??
'Guess it's worth a try.
Excellent post! Except I hate taking a cold, hard look at myself.
All the best,
Eileen

terri said...

I wonder if anyone ever steps back from themselves long enough to take a good hard look at the person they are now... and if the person they are becoming is the one they want to be years down the road.

I will definitely be looking now.

Jeanie said...

I like your sweet vision of a time that is hard to look toward without some doubt and fear.

DJan said...

Whoa! That was some story, and the description of those two old people is not only vivid but quite disturbing. I can see why you got out of there, and why it sticks with you to this day.

And now you have shared it with me, and I am glad to think on this for awhile. The car? You rock, TB! You did the right thing for sure.

Stickup Artist said...

A good reminder to nurture our relationships and ourselves. Live every day as fully as possible. And a lot of stuff we seem to think is oh so important at the moment, really often isn't. But when it is important, like the injustice of selling a woman and her daughter a "lemon," don't give up a reasonable process of protest.

Kristina P. said...

I hope we're that couple.

Maggie May said...

Maybe they talked about YOU for a good while after that and maybe you made some impression on THEM!
Was a bit surreal but a good story.
Word ver: UPSETIO
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

I like the illustration: the faces made up of younger people. They say as we age, we become more ingrained in our ways, more of what we had always been. I guess as we contemplate what lies ahead in our seniour years, we should be laying down good habits, strong emotional ties to family and friends and positive attitudes that we will want to have to rely on down the road. This post really made me think. Good job.

Rosemary

Enchanted Oak said...

Such glimpses into other people's lives are what keep me grounded in a shared humanity, and I'm speaking not only of the glimpse into the elders' lives but also the glimpse into yours. If people didn't speak of their lives, I would be lonely. Instead, stories like yours offer me a much-needed connection to the human race.

Bernie said...

I felt kind of sad for this old couple, they seem so afraid and unhappy....glad you were able to get a new vehicle.....:-0Hugs

Julie said...

This is one of the most touching scenes I have ever read. What I thought would be a "mean" old lady was just a woman who was suffering very much. It reminds me to be more gentle with the gruff people I meet. Maybe they are suffering, too.

I also think about my husband and how fortunate I am to have him. I hope we can grow old together, and like you say, help each other out. I'm happy that you also have that special someone...and I wish you many, many beautiful years together.

One of my elderly friends jokes to me that "old age is not for wussies." She means her many physical ailments and pain...and loss. I wonder if I can be as strong as she is.

I'm glad you got another car! You're smart to keep after the man. Some people would have just given up. Beautiful post, Technobabe!

Julie said...

P.S. - I meant to tell you that I LOVE the picture, too. That is awesome.

Cricket said...

I know the main point of your story was not the car, but I love that line: I will not leave you alone until you make it right. Brilliant - the parable of the unjust judge revisited.

And all the love and marriage stuff, too. My wife and I used to teach pre-Cana with a wonderful group of people... all couples, most of whom had been married far longer than us. One couple, who had been married close to 40 years, always gave a sobering presentation to the about-to-be-newlyweds, including the line: remember, one of you will have to bury the other.

Rain on the picnic? No, I don't think so. I think it's beautiful, in a way. All those vows that can sound so stale, to love and cherish 'til death do you part?

It's actually supposed to mean something, innit?

The Absence of Alternatives said...

Wow. What a great story.

Thinking about old age does stress me out a bit: it just emphasizes the need to really work on this marriage of mine... And what's more, to really take good care of my self.

Anne H said...

Transportation metaphors are always my favorite.
Clearly you were getting out of that place and that state of mind.
As fast as wheels can turn!

TALON said...

I would like to think that if my hubby and I make it to that age and stage we'd be as tender...

I'm glad you held firm on the car, TechnoBabe!

Unknown Mami said...

I used to have a frame of that graphic you used. My mother gave it to me. I got rid of it because it would creep me out.

I'm happy to hear you got a better car.

Kazzy said...

Oooowoo, really kind of spooky.

Stinkypaw said...

Sadly, we're all heading that way (the old part) but at least some of us don't have to be doing it all alone. Enjoy the moments.

Fancy said...

What an interesting story, Technobabe! You saw the face of a faithful relationship in your hour of need.

Enjoy your day!!

lisleman said...

I imagine there are many stories going on in homes that we will never know. You and your daughter got to peek in on one. This reminds me of the neighbors across the street from my childhood home. You could say that they had issues and my mother felt the need to help them.

Joanna Jenkins said...

I've known older couples like that before-- And related to a few of them too. It's sad to get to that state, it must feel so helpless.

As for that car salesman-- Good for you. YOu gotta stand up for yourself.

Beautifully written post Techno.

xo jj

Hilary said...

That was some experience. Pain and fragility in aging would probably make most of us cranky. Their connection kept them going no matter how they related to one another and to others. I'm glad you have some with whom to share that journey. Hugs to you, TB.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

Pretty amazing. Another remarkable story from your storehouse! BTW, I think that is why NY state has a lemon law, as some small protection against that sort of dealer :)

Happy Frog and I said...

This post was very surreal and disturbing in parts. I believe if it had happened to me I would have thought I was dreaming. Good to know they were looking after each other though and that you were so capable under such difficult circumstances. Really got me thinking.

Robert the Skeptic said...

My wife and I had often talked about the our desire to "grow old together", but now that it is becoming reality, we realize that it was more than just an obtuse concept. There isn't much we can do about it anyway, so we trudge on... and will to it's final conclusion.

Kulio said...

What an experience - it's not often we get to peek into other's lives. It sure affects us when we get to "step in" to another's life.

Shadowthorne @ Ramzu Zahini said...

I just told my students that true love is almost extinct now. The rate of divorce is climbing and chivalry is already dead.
Hope remains.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Creepy old couple. I have lived in many places where the locals were suspicious of outsiders, which often meant anyone whose great-great grandparents were not from there.

I'm just glad they didn't shoot you and your daughter with a pellet gun or something, and also that you prevailed with the car salesman.

Marla said...

You have so many amazing stories to tell. I feel the same way you do as far as seeing myself twenty years from now. We joke about changing one anothers diapers. May it never be!

Rock Chef said...

Car salesmen, eh?

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

What an incredibly touching story...Though sad, as the two people probably didn't have anyone to call to care for them...

Nezzy said...

'Till death do us part baby! I tell Hubby I'll push him around in a wheel chair someday 'cause I'm never gettin' old! (She say's at the ripe old age of 58) Heeehehehe!

Great story girl!

God bless ya and have a marvelous week sweetie!!!

Far Side of Fifty said...

I think to grow older together is a gift..some couples do not get that chance. Interesting story..glad you got a different car:)

LL Cool Joe said...

This actually sounds like my parents. Although I don't know my Dad puts up with my Mother, well I do, he loves her dearly.

deb said...

oh, Techno, that couple will stay with me forever.

I can already start to see the little things with my husband and I .... I hope we stay tender and strong

Kathy M. said...

Wow what a gripping story. I like your interpretation, though I think mine is a little sadder. But I, too, am in a private and personal relationship that I can imagine will carry us both through our natural lives. I think about what the future holds for us. I like to think we'll be taking care of each other as best we can. Thanks for sharing.

gayle said...

I so hope my husband and I live long enough to grow really old together!

Sex, Drugs and Bacon Sandwiches said...

I truly hope I have a similar relationship when I am that age...

So Techno, I promised I'd tell you when I was back and here I am, looking different but back nonetheless. I was eternally distracted without you ;)

blueviolet said...

I saw my mom lovingly care for my dad as he was fading, and I do hope to have that same thing when I get older as well.

I'm glad you got the car situation fixed. I'm surprised they let you get a different one though. Car dealerships are tough!

Syd said...

How really nice to feel that you will be there for each other. I also feel that way. I am here for the long haul. I hope that I don't rub my wife the wrong way!