2nd Council Meeting

I wondered for many years whether people actually grew wiser with age. No. They don’t. Not as a general rule anyways.

Mark Twain, for example told as only he could about how he left home at 20 and how much wiser his father had become when he met him ten years later.

The point being not that his father had grown wiser, but that Mark Twain had learned a few things.

We had the 2nd meeting of the Resident Council since I’ve been here. The room was packed to capacity with residents and walkers.

I came about ten minutes late.

Leonard, who is one of the more “with it” people here asked me if I was coming to the meeting, sort of urging me, with a shy mischievous smile to see ineffectiveness in action, if ineffectiveness can be an action.

The first meeting had been about the lousy food service. So I thought this one would have a different topic, but when I came in they were passing the mike around. And every statement but one was about the food.

I listened to complaints for about ten minutes. With no good answers other than they were working on it and how difficult it was to feed 150 people (there are two shifts) with different dietary needs.

The suit in command asked if anyone else had anything to say.

A woman who only talks about the plastic in the environment had some plan to reuse the garbage bags. People listened to her politely tho there was some eye rolling. The head honcho said, that was a good idea she had. They’d look into it.

Yes, I thought, when pigs fly. She suggested that the aides empty the individual garbage bags into one big one and reuse the old ones.

Anybody else have anything to say?

I raised my hand.

You know, what would be useful, I said to the corporation. Why don’t all you management folks have three meals a day here? No going out to nice restaurants.

A hush fell over the crowd. It might have been the first sensible confrontation.

Two corporate fellas in pin stripe suits stood up and defended their system.

Actually, we did eat here for a while. One of them said with a good sized smile.

These two suits were like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

I expected one of them to say “Contra wise, we did eat here.”

How long did that last? I asked. I mean eating here?

Dee and Dum looked at each other for the answer and each came up with a different number of days ranging from 5 to a week.

Without much thought, I asked: why did you stop?

Again, confusion. And then the council president took the mike and asked if there were anymore questions.

On the way out, my friend Spike, an old fisherman, said I had his vote for council. I said, if nominated I would not run. If elected I would not take office. Oh, I thought, the enemies I would make. Don’t want to get kicked out before I settle in.

Leonard (Leo) is a diffident guy and usually asks sharp questions at these meetings. Also the type that make the establishment uncomfortable . He asked me, as I was waiting for the elevator what I thought of the meeting.

Ineffectual, I said.

He grinned.

On the other hand, he whispered, people don’t know how good they have it here. Compared to where I’ve been, this is paradise. I know what Leo’s been through and promised to keep it a secret, so I will. But he’s been through the worst this elderly healthcare has to offer to poor people.

No snappy ending included. I couldn’t figure out one. Just another day in the Assisted Living joint.

“May you stay forever young” – Dylan

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