Nov 16 2012

If I burn the house down, it will be on purpose

Published by at 6:27 pm under Just another day in Paradise

Ok, so Friday was spent with friends and Saturday with old people. And as life goes on, I am slowly realising that people my age are constantly repeating themselves, whereas the aged have the skills, knowledge and experience that allows them to truly have fun. With this important conclusion in mind, I’ll go back to the beginning and explain why my terrorist group will only recruit old people and why Saturday Night Live would be a million times better if hosted in a seniors home.

Last Friday I met up with a few friends and went out for drinks. The stories, the usual. One went cycling this week, another one is climbing regularly now — and which one is the best type of exercise for building up muscle? They are still a couple, but he made a move on this other girl last week, when they were both drunk of course, so they can’t remember anything now. I didn’t call him back when he left a message and pretended to have forgotten all about his birthday — not to come across clingy. Men like independent women and The Master is coming out this week. It should be good to see, Paul Anderson is a genius. Besides, who isn’t when you’re our age?

The night ended with a bunch of drunken retards fighting, girls crying in the bathrooms with their hair all over the place and their shoes in their hands. Taxis nowhere to be found. Some racist comments, some sexist remarks. But it will all be good tomorrow, cause no one will remember anything. And of course, a few of us recently converted to Buddhism.

My generation is out of ideas.

Saturday soon came, however, and with it, brought a whole new world. Theo and I had arranged to spend the day with Renato, our Italian friend from the assisted living facility across from my dance school. Dressed up and ready to go, he was waiting in his wheelchair, outside his room, and within seconds we were on our way. “Do you want to go for a pizza or an ice cream?” I asked. “Both. We’ll get both”, Renato replied, clearly finding my question dull. “What do you feel like doing?” — “Everything”, he said. “Today we’ll do it all”. “Because come Monday, I need to go through knee surgery”.

Theo pushed Renato’s chair to the park and we all sat on our favourite bench. I brought enough pizzas to keep us busy for a while and Renato declared that he’s not playing Bingo with those assholes anymore. “The game is fixed”, he said firmly. “You’re better off playing online. The money is better and you don’t have that fat nurse looking over your shoulders all the time”. A middle-aged man pushed his mum’s wheelchair towards us, interrupting Renato who seemed eager to continue listing his reasons for preferring online Bingo than the one with the fat nurse in charge.

“Could we join you?” the man asked. Renato rolled his eyes. “Fine”. “Oh I know this man”, the old woman observed. “Of course you do mum, he’s in the room next to yours”, her son helped. She shook her head. “No, no, no, no, no. I know him from the market”. “There we go again”, Renato whispered. “He sells chick peas”, she decided. Renato looked at Theo intensely. “Let’s get the hell out of here”.

In a few minutes, we were at the top of a red bus, sight-seeing Florence, a city that you can never sight-see enough, no matter how many years you live in it. We took photos, we listened to Steppenwolf, we made fun of the tourists, we laughed, we refused to get off. Every now and again, we’d come across a man in a white uniform, a different one each time, but every one of them just as alarmed, rushing around, looking for something — but what? In the evening, we made our way back to the “hotel” to play games and plan the revolution.

As we approached, one of the white men I had spotted earlier, saw us and his eyes popped out. “You have him?” he shouted. Furious, he ran towards us. “We’ve been looking for him all day! You can’t come into a seniors home and take an old man and disappear! Why didn’t you ask for permission?” he kept screaming. “Cause you wouldn’t have granted it”, Renato answered calmly, while rolling his chair to his room. The nurse looked at us intensely. “This man needed to rest, he has a serious operation he needs to undergo on Monday”. I nodded, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know… It’s not going to happen again”.

“Don’t let them get to you!” Renato shouted as he disappeared down the hallway. “Come back at dawn, keep the engine running, I’ll pack my things, there’s great things awaiting us!” yelled — and was gone.

This reminded me of when my grandma had asked me to join her for a swim at the lake where she and her friends hang out. “You might get bored, the average age is 85”, she prepared me, and I knew i was in for some fun. When I got there, I found some of the most intelligent, eye-opening and genuinely funny people I have ever come across. After hearing them list the numerous reasons why their grandchildren are boring, after spending hours listening to their conversation regarding sex and after watching them devour chocolate cakes and milkshakes, I realised that there is no better crowd to spend your time with, no matter how old you are.

When the young man working there saw me, he was taken aback. “A beautiful girl your age, should be at some club dancing tonight”. Oh god… I thought. Not the club again. I don’t deserve the club… Taking identical pictures and uploading them on Facebook… Anything but the club… Smiling that same smile… Not the club… Can’t I just hang out with Renato at the seniors home?

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