‘Signs that I’ve been away. Plus some actual signs.’
It’s been a while since I shared my unbelievable-but-true tale, “The Four Seatmates of the Apocalypse.” But that’s because I’ve been away twice since that three-weeks-long trip to Africa. And, while both places were well-equipped with up-to-date conveniences like internet, I was a tad too distracted to wow you all with any new tales.
So, you might be asking, where the heck were you? Nowhere nearly as exotic as Namibia and Botswana, but that’s okay. Sometimes I think “exotic” is highly overrated.
I can honestly think of nothing more satisfying than spending Columbus Day in the Catskills with our politically-wacky-but-otherwise-most-excellent friends Jim and Phyllis.
Unless, of course, it’s spending a nice restful week in Vancouver, Washington, with my one-and-only mother. (No, that’s not the Vancouver where Megan and Harry fled; this is the Vancouver that’s just a hop, skip and a jump over the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon.)
My routine while in Vancouver is to get up early, go for a walk, have coffee with my mother and her friends (hi, Jeff and Carole and Leonard and Betty and all you Shirleys!), hang out with my mother, make dinner, hang out with my mother some more, sleep — and repeat.
Trust me. Hanging out in a senior living center makes a nice change from the hustle and bustle of New York. “You live in New York?!?” gasped a new mom-friend named Bill. Um, yeah, Bill. A whole heck of a lot of people do.
But, as I say, hanging out with the seniors can be pretty nice. For one thing, you’re almost always younger than everybody else. Though it doesn’t always show. “You’re sisters, right?” is something I hear every time I visit.
And there are actually lots of things to do, like exercise class with Kim. And history lectures with John. And this time of year there was lots of baseball to watch.
Oh — before I forget. I must explain about the Ps and Qs mentioned in the title of this piece. See, my morning walk takes me by an elementary school. It’s really nice seeing the kids arrive on the big yellow school buses. There are crossing guards, too; volunteer parents who stop traffic so you can cross the street. One very sweet woman with impeccably-groomed eyebrows greeted me warmly every day.
But there was also this sign. Cycling through an electronic display, it read, in part, thusly:
I mean, really. This is a school we’re talking about, people! One would think they would know their way around some apostrophes. Heavy *sigh* goes here.
Oh — also before I forget. We did have a bit of excitement. Mom and I were happily ensconced in front of her big ole flat-screen TV watching the Phillies wallop several homers during the MLB playoffs when the game was interrupted by, of all things, a tornado warning. Having been raised in the Midwest — specifically in what is known as “Tornado Alley” — Mom and I did not have to be told twice to get away from the windows and down to the first floor.
Turns out we weren’t the only smart ones. Carole and three of the Shirleys — Shirlee With Two Es, Shirley With The Purse At All Times, and Shirley Who Looks 70 But Is 90 — were there, too. (I decided this trip that it is a requirement of this senior living place to have at least two Shirleys on every floor. Marilyn is another hot name. As is Carol, with or without an “e.” But not nearly as ubiquitously hot as Shirley.)
Speaking of which, I have a hot ticket to the opera tonight, and must get gussied up.
Yes, I’m back in New York.
New York City. October 2023