My coworker, a white gay man, visits his grandmother who is 100 years old every other weekend. Now he’s from west bubble Florida where mosquitoes and ‘gators run swamps, and people drink from mayonnaise jars…so its not a stretch for me to assume that when Ms. Granny was less wrinkled racism was alive and well. Okay, let me edit that, I know racism still is alive and well, but back then I can assume a Negro couldn’t walk down the street without rocks being thrown at them or even being spat upon. Coworker has never stated that Granny rode with the knights of the klan or lobed rocks at anyone, but he has said that she has a problem with black people so I need to get images of a sweet old lady out my mind…this chick is ornery at best. She currently has a room by herself because she’s made countless roommates cry. At her old nursing home it was common place that the N word would slip as her often black (or even worse Haitian and Jamaican) nurses would come to wipe her butt. And as coworker tells me these tales I can’t help but chuckle at the fact that the very people that Granny hated and despised are now the ones who are helping to keep her in the land of the living. Ha. Ha. Ha. I guess karma is a b*tch!
But his stories about his beloved granny often get me thinking about that future that looms ahead. I wonder who is going to take care of me when I’m old and wrinkled? I’m going to be sharp, or will my family gather around a woman who hardly remembers? Am I putting out good things in the universe so I don’t end up abused in a home some place? Does it even matter if I put good things out there? These things I ask as I contribute to my 401K plan and try to live my life young and carefree.
But the cares are growing.
I hear my coworker share that nurses dropped her father again and now his arm is broken. Another coworker told me about how his mother’s clothes were taken from her room. And just yesterday my mom tells me that one of my grandmother’s sisters has gone blind. The other has just had a stroke. And still another can hardly get out of bed in the morning due to her arthritis is acting up. All three live in one house with only my grandmother coming to check on them and telling them they need to turn on the air conditioning because it’s 83 degrees in the house, but they sat not noticing the heat.
I guess I just worry about what’s going to happen to me. And before then I wonder how I am going to care for my parents? I’m an only child, they are divorced and there is no longer a community of caring people who I could trust to check in on them, take them a dinner plate or even drive them to the doctor while I’m at work or living hundreds of miles away. Something has failed. What happened to that village that strengthened the weak spots in our lives?
Today I can laugh at a racist old lady horrified of being touched by black folks day in and day out… but tomorrow? Yeah, I just don’t know what’s gonna happen then.
See You in Seven
SO LONG, FAREWELL...
The View From Here will conclude on Friday, October 1, our third year anniversary. We would like to spend this month thanking all of our readers, followers, haters, visitors, family, friends, and fans for your continued support, encouragement, and comments over these past few years. Thanks y'all!
-The Five Spot