Sunday, May 31, 2015

Slumming it with the Seniors

After so much stress these past few weeks i have decided to write a much lighter post instead of the recent negative stuff.I really need to move forward with positivity..so here goes:

This past Thursday i didnt want to have another big emotional blow out at home like usual on my nights off.  My first option to stay somewhere alone hadn't panned out so i decided to head out to see a friend 2 hours away.I had initially thought about going the weekend before but backed out due to an unstable emotional state and fear. It would have been a horrible mistake. However , this time i made sure to get all my ducks in a row before proceeding and it actually turned into quite the  adventure.

I first meet my friend halfway at a lovely little microbrewery/ restaurant...with a huge black concrete COW out front. Interesting place-good food, nice decor. The conversation went well so we decided to proceed with the tentative plans for me to stay overnite. As we leave , i am following in my car and sure enough we get separated. I pull over , we fail to re hook up  so i GPS the address and head up on my own. Mind you,i've never been to this place or even heard of this town- a tad unnerving and by this time it is 9 pm or so.

As i drive it starts to dawn on me that this place is almost in the middle of no where....bear country.It is dark, the roads are winding up and down throughout spooky mountains. Barely another car or soul to be seen.At one point while chatting briefly to my BFF i missed a turn..and no lie...i had gone maybe 50 feet passed the road when my GPS says"now entering unverified territories")

Great..i'm gonna get shot or or start hearing Banjos.

..i turn around and get back on track a little shaken.

I arrive at my "destination"(according to the GPS) finally( after passing numerous coal mining signs) and of course my "destination" is not to be seen. I can't even find the Sunoco we agreed to meet at, so once again i call .  We meet up..we find parking. .I ask which building it is. I am directed to look to a very large looming 16 floor building that is probably the towns epicenter of activity( a town with an area of 10 square  miles, i later find out,- 9.8 being land and 1.31water)

It is then that i realize how freaking far we are going to have to tote my overnight gear including snuggle bear, sleeping bag , a pillow and two larger bags with misc....Yeesh.

So we get to the building. I also realize now through conversation and observation that the majority of the residents are senior citizens or mentally retarded. Hmm. We get to the door, which opens up into a  tiny apartment.
When i say tiny, i mean government cheese and a monthly SSI check small...But here i am and its clean and smells ok, so...

Also i might add i was NOT prepared to have to go down to the patio via the stairs or elevator every time to smoke..i had assumed up until i got here that this was a private apartment in a small , maybe 3 story house with perhaps a private balcony..I was so far off the mark.This was more  like hotel living. Also , i am curious as to why my friend keeps telling me to wear my sandals, even when we are relaxing outside.

In spite of it all, we were allowed to drink out in the common patio area (not too bad) so i brought my wine bottle down .Never in a million years could i have predicted i would be happily spending the evening chatting away with senior citizens and mentally ill persons .It  wasn't what i had in mind for a relaxing night with a friend but turned out to be one of the most unusual and entertaining evenings i have had in a long time.

I met Gene- wheelchair bound 73 year old spitfire - lots of stories about his hospitalizations, the government and his partying days. Several other residents moved about but i don't really remember their names..all very pleasant..or pleasantly weird. I feel almost at home..This is almost like the arts community.

 At about the break of dawn we get back to the spartan room, and chat for bit, finish off the wine and before i retire i decide i'd like one more cigarette..so i don my robe and sandals, and head down the stairs recommended. i get to the first floor, see a janitor or two and ask for further directions and  make it to the patio.Several groups of residents i hadn't met were joined for breakfast or out smoking so i sat far away, quickly smoking and went back to find my way upstairs again.

Here's where it gets even weirder:

I get stopped by a man telling me the manager wants to talk to me..i ignore him and he says it several more times pointing me to the "office" where i see an older woman beckoning me.I am in NO mood since i do NOT live here and i am tired.. I say "sorry, but no...i am not going to be called into your office" i continue on, get to the elevator, to the room and my friend is absent now.

Hmm..my friend comes back up a few minutes later and had been called down to speak to the management..apparently i had caused a SCANDLE by going out in my robe. Wow. I was astounded beyond belief. I mean, What the F*ck????Explain , please..

Ok , i now find out there is a rule that one may not wear "night ware" out side of their room..What is this? Kindergarten? A nazi Camp? No, this is government housing for low income, and apparently that gives them the right to make rules about what attire one may wear. Seriously, i was covered from my neck to my knees.Also i am told why i had to wear sandals-no bare feet. I could barely control my humor and sarcasm at this point.

Anyway, i sleep for a bit and come down in the a.m. to have coffee and a smoke ..of course i am now the topic of the entire building and apparently will be for the next month.

As i contemplate the my complete need for several more hours of sleep and the dreaded two hours drive home..i had to laugh- thinking-"How about that for a for a spontaneous thursday night get away?"...i think i did well.



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