The plane trolled into it’s terminal and like always, everyone stood up like seething beasts. I understand why this is so intimidating to an elderly person, it’s intense for me and I’m only 33.
I was grabbing her cane from the overhead bin when I could feel him trying to shove himself past me. His hot, impatient asshole breath on my back, “Excuse me I’ve gotta plane to catch, can you just let me, can you just, can you just speed it up!?”
I fucking hate it when I can feel someone’s breath on me, I raised my shoulders to my neck in discomfort. My grandmother worried, patted my hand, “Melly, let them go first, I’m too slow.”
I looked the man in the eyes while addressing my grandmother, “Grandma, we have to get somewhere just as soon as everyone else and if they’re impatient than they need to learn some patience, it’s no problem.”
The man let out an exaggerated sigh and shifted back and forth on each foot, pouting like a toddler. I laughed at the thought of this type of man, so predictable, so very unoriginal. You know the one I’m talking about, the fragile one that doesn’t hear the word “no” very often. The one that throws a hissy fit when you tell him you aren’t interested in having sex with him, yea that’s him.
We were traveling to Spokane to visit her brother who was recently admitted to memory care, which is just a fancy, new-age name for nursing home. She wanted to visit him before he lost his memory completely, so I volunteered to go along with her. As a child, she and my grandfather took us everywhere, so it was an honor to spend the time and take her to visit her brother. Traveling always brought her so much joy and I know its frustrating for her to be limited more and more with age. I wanted this vacation to be all about her. I wanted her to feel confident, comfortable and cared for because unfortunately, those feelings become so fleeting at her age.
I think it’s hard to imagine for those of us who are lucky to still have our physical independence. Independence begins to disappear as you get older, you get slower, you need more help. I hate that they feel like their existence is bothersome to others. I hate that they always feel so rushed just because everyone else doesn’t know how to slow the fuck down.
Not with me though, at least at this moment, I could fight for her basic existence in a society that has no respect for people of a certain age. It’s not everyone though. It’s amazing how many times during this trip I was seen by people my age and even older as a “saint” for traveling with my grandma. Yes, I had a flight attendant call me a “saint.” I guess she was impressed by my patience. Of course, it was appreciated, I’ve always loved throwing people’s shortcomings in their faces in hopes for a lesson learned but this was different. It was different seeing people’s reactions to a young person having patience with an elderly person. You usually see them being dragged around and yelled at by family members or caregivers, sickening.
I wish we were more like Mexicans, where the elderly are respected and cared for by family members and not left to rot in nursing homes, what a fucking concept.
Yes, I was traveling with my grandmother who’s in her 90’s, but that doesn’t mean that she has to take a back seat and risk losing her next flight just because other people are impatient assholes. I hated that this was even a thing she had to think about. I hate that this is a thing most elders feel.
I wasn’t about to let her feel as though her needs were lesser than others just because of her age. I didn’t have time for that, we had another plane to catch. And in general, I wasn’t about to have this dickwad validate her prescribed insecurities.
I dramatically swung my backpack over my shoulder causing the impatient man to take a step back. I smiled at my grandmother and she gave me that familiar smirk of catholic disapproval. It’s a mix of consent with “on the record” disfavor.
He scoffed, “Jesus, can you watch it, you almost hit me with your bag!”
I laughed, “Who do you think you are? You’re the one shoving your body into me because apparently, your needs are the most important ones on this plane. You know, you’re lucky you met me now and not a year ago. You wouldn’t be complaining about the bag that “almost” hit you, you’d have this cane lodged in your fucking jaw. You can call my EDMR therapist Carolyn Poole and thank her for that. Your impatience is unbecoming and frankly just disrespectful to me and my sweet grandmother so back the fuck up.”
He took a step back with his eyes wide and mouth open in perplexity. Not surprising from this shit-stained toddler. The line began to move. I held out my hand for my grandmother, “Alright Grams sorry for the language, let’s blow this popsicle stand.”
My grandma snickering, took my hand, nodded at the excuse for a man and gushed, “How do you blow a popsicle stand?”