still visiting the elderly

April 21, 2009

It’s a new door that I have never knocked on before, so I don’t know what to expect. It opens quickly to reveal a smiling-eyed old man in an outlandishly giant green bathrobe wearing large, thick glasses and skewn white hair that seems to indicate he spent the night in his basement developing the formula for flubber.

“Well you’re younger and smaller”: the first words from his mouth.

“Than what?” I ask.

“Than the last person who came here. That’s why I’m happy to have you anytime they want to send you,” he says. “As a matter of fact, I have to tell you that I’ve been real into photography lately. Come in. Let me show you something.”

I take a second to contemplate this offer, wondering if this is a trick scene from some kind of sleazy tv show. But I visit many elderly people in their homes, and I’m confident in my ability to outrun and/or overpower any of them if necessary, so I assure this maybe too-kind old man that I can stop in for a little bit.

We walk into his living room, and he hands me an envelope.

“Many people dream about this but you don’t see it too often,” he narrates as I open the envelope and unfold its contents. It’s a letter that says something about some of his photos being posted in a photo gallery on the internet.

I look at this old disheveled man wearing the giant glasses and outlandish house robe and doubtfully speculate just what kinds of images his photos show.

“I like to take photos, so if you see that look come across my eyes…” His words cut off to make room for his intent stare at me, then he abruptly continues, “Don’t cut your hair. We need about three more inches on your hair. Then, next time you come, we might just have to see about taking you upstairs.”

Feeling thoroughly creeped but more so enjoying such an absurd interaction that I didn’t expect from this morning, I laugh politely.

I actually enjoy this part of my job. The part where I’m unexpectedly entertained at how it reveals the interesting aged characters who spend their days behind the doors of houses in my neighborhood. People can be so humorously charactered.

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