Friday, December 16, 2016

The Weather is not the Only Frightful Thing!

Sitting here waiting for the last of the Christmas baking to come out of the oven and the icing to harden on my German Chocolate Cherry cookies. I'm also waiting for the snow and sheet we're supposed to get later tonight.

It's been very bitter cold here, in the 20s, over the last few days. My lungs haven't liked it one bit, protesting when I went out today and yesterday afternoon. Yesterday I had a good reason for braving the weather, my youngest daughter came down from the city to go to the dentist. I love it when she comes home for a dental or medical visit. We always hang out together at the office followed by shopping and dinner. A girls afternoon.

Once my daughter went back into the treatment area for a tooth cleaning an older couple came into the office and after the lady extracted directions to the nearest UPS store she informed the office staff that she'd be back in an hour to pick up her husband. She left, he stayed.

I don't know at what point I realized something wasn't quite right. It might have been when he took off and put on his coat about four times, or the fact that he kept moving it to different coat racks in that small office. Could have been when he kept trying to talk to me, but in my avoidance of older guys who might be manthurs I just kept my nose in my book. But by the time he started complaining about the office music it was obvious something was going on.

A word about the music at the dentist. Our dentist is a junior. His late father started the office and until this visit the music played in the office was just to the right of Lawrence Welk. Serious muzak from the late 50s or early 60s. Not even hip enough for Welk, or to ever be on Mad Men.

The other interesting thing about the office that is just a bit weird is the magazine selection. The Senior was a part time cattle farmer, but Junior has delusions of Virginia landed gentry and fox hunting. So the magazine racks aren't filled with the usual Good Housekeeping and Sports Illustrated. Oh no, those racks hold magazines with names like 'Estates, Fine Horses and Guns' (not the real name but very close!) or 'Steeplechase and Ammo' (also not the name). I look through the selection and giggle, stopping myself just short from telling Junior that his dad's cattle farm is in no way a thoroughbred horse farm even if he has a few pretty quarter horses and Tennessee Walker on it now.

Back to the music. At some point recently Junior must have cancelled the old man's muzak service, because now it blasts old rock and roll from  local oldies station. A song came on by Bad Company and the lead singer Paul Rodgers was screaming out the lyrics. I forget what song it was but the lone older gent stares at the speaker mounted in the ceiling and starts yelling that he cannot understand how anyone could screech like that, like a monkey with his nuts caught in a washing machine mangle. I had to stifle a laugh at that, and try to explain how singers like Rodgers can shriek and scream without harming their vocal cords, the mechanics of singing. Yeah, I finally did break down and talk to him.

This went over very poorly, sending the older man off into a rant about the stupidity of rock music. I was saved from having to talk to him further when they had to take him into the back during his soapbox stumping. I had a peaceful near hour of reading after he went back, but when he emerged, about five minutes before my daughter he laid down on one of the office couches and fell into a snore-y sleep. His wife picked that moment to arrive back in the office and he went into copious whining that he'd been done 'FOREVER'! And she was off, angrily stomping off to the receptionist's desk to yell about her husband spending so much time waiting.

My daughter came out at the point, and the lady was still at it. It didn't dawn on me until she hissed at the billing clerk that he is apparently developing Alzheimers and cannot be left alone. I wish she'd have made that clear to them upfront, because I'm not sure leaving him in the hands of others without warning them was the safest thing for him.

It was just such a strange little interlude, illustrative of the general zeitgeist I seem to be witnessing increasingly when I'm out and about now. Between the holidays and the general anxiety most people are feeling post-election I'm seeing lots of unusual behavior in the strangers around me. People wonder why I've become even more introverted lately.

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