I met the nicest gentleman today. I meet a lot of nice people but this guy was what you’d probably call a “colorful character.” He was 78 years old he told me, beanpole skinny and tall, with very, very long white hair and a very, very long white beard. If he wasn’t so skinny he would make a wonderful Santa. At 78 years of age I believe he was born in 1930. That doesn’t exactly put him in my generation but he’s not that far off – at this age 16 years is not so much. He wasn’t feeling well today but he assured me he was never, ever sick and had rarely seen a doctor since he got out of the armed services after World War II. I asked him where he served, wondering if he was anywhere my father had been, and he said he never went overseas because of a back problem. Now if I remember my history lessons correctly that war began in 1939 and ended in 1945. That would mean that he was 9 when the war began and 15 when it ended. Hmmmm. Either he doesn’t know how old he is, he lies about his age, or he lies about his military service. Well, it’s not exactly a lie I guess because he really did get out of the service after WWII – a looooong time after.
He told me he retired from a government agency which will remain unnamed in this post and that he had worked there until recently. Considering his memory (see above) that could have been last week or 20 years ago. He also told me he planned to jump off the nearest large bridge when he turned 80 because he thought that was long enough for anyone to live. I told him I knew lots of people who did great things after that age and named a few but he wasn’t impressed. He just laughed and said his friends had all agreed to go with him when he went to the bridge and would put weights on his legs to make sure he didn’t “float.” I asked him about these friends and he said he had lots because he “visits a few bars every day and sips a little.”
He couldn’t understand why everyone was worried about his “pressure.” He’d always had blood pressure – even in his 20’s he’d had blood pressure. The doctors then couldn’t figure out why he had pressure and they still couldn’t figure it out. Since I’m not the grammar police I didn’t try to explain that…of course, he has blood pressure, everyone who is alive does! He might have elevated blood pressure, or high blood pressure, or low blood pressure....but if he had no blood pressure he and I wouldn’t be talking! Oops, sorry about the tirade. And just for the record, he had a temperature too. I counted to 10. Of course he had a temperature. If he was dead he’d have a temperature – it might be room temperature but he’d have one. He might have fever or his temperature might be high but he darn sure has one.
Where am I going with this post? First, apparently menopause (see previous post) also takes out your normal nice person brain and substitutes the brain of a witch you never met before. Thankfully, your normal nice person brain still has control of your tongue because I was able to keep my mouth shut. I can handle the hot flashes but this whole crying/witchy thing I'm not so sure. I've got a lot of things I want to say to Eve when I get to Heaven about why she ate that darn apple and she better hope I'm over menopause when I get there. If she's even there.
Second, I love the “colorful characters” I occasionally get to meet. Like an older lady who was standing outside her room in the most colorful robe and hat I’d ever seen (the hat was covered with pink pom poms), staring at the American Flag outside the window. When I approached her she said, “watch the flag…it’s like a beautiful lady dancing. When the wind blows it slowly starts moving, gracefully unfurling, then dancing about until the wind dies down and it slowly sinks down.” Wonderful, delightful stories about living in Manhattan and going to nursing school in the 1930s were my entertainment that day. Another gentleman I met welcomed my visit and said he’d never heard about Jesus until he got to prison. Then he taught Bible study for a while but lately he’d “backslid” and done some things he probably shouldn’t which accounted for the reason he was living in his car down by the lake. And also was why the police had confiscated his car and all his belongings. But he most certainly planned to do better – he was going to “forward slid” now. Right….
Have you met any colorful characters lately? I’d love to hear about them.