I arrived early to work yesterday, thinking there was a staff meeting.
The wait seemed long so I asked an elderly gentlemen for the time; he was on his way to the Men’s Washroom.
There must have been a miscommunication as I was told it was already ten pass nine, and no one else had shown up.
The old man continued talking, explaining his day’s plan as I politely listened and nodded.
He was garrulous like many senior folks, but there’s something about them that I can’t help but engage. Perhaps, they are old and helpless and so often reminded me of Grandfather.
In my two years at a residential care facility, I discovered the importance of human connection. In old age, people often feel isolated due to the lack of social contact. For this reason old people seek companionship,and someone to listen.
I was happy to be that someone today. I had time after all.
I learned about his immediate family members, especially his mother whom he was meeting for tea and hot cross buns. In exchange, I spoke of my precious boys.
He repeatedly commented on my appearance and how he enjoys talking to me. I thought it was sweet at first, but he kept asking about my marital relationship, and then said he wanted to marry me! WHAT?! I didn’t know what to think. It got more awkward when he insisted on having my phone number. There was a desperate look on his face, a different kind of loneliness.
All I could think of was what my husband would say. “I told you to stop talking to strangers.”
I got out of there real fast, and called my husband of course.