Another pearler from the land of the retired people otherwise known as My Work.
Today half the staff went for first aid certification. We commandeered one of the residents' communal lounge rooms. (Marjorie would have been annoyed. Her normal daytime ritual from 8 until 5 is to sit in there and stare.)
It was pretty heavy going actually. I was only refreshing mine because it's expired, but most of the others had never had any exposure to first aid at all - typical were enquiries about putting butter onto burns and spoons into the mouths of epileptics (don't ever use either!). To his credit the teacher made much fun of the fact that "Grandma's advice was always terrible" and managed to get a laugh from most of the ill-informed. Add to the discovery all the acronyms to remember (EAR, RICE, CPR, and all the others) and I think we were all pretty grateful for the lunch break.
Forget the residents - we normally have this unspoken rule that if they're eating in there, we don't. Screw that. I sat down with a plate of veal cordon bleu and stir-fried vegies and began stuffing my face.
The discussion at the table next to me was somewhat interesting. Someone commented on Dizzy's double century. Yes, for the non-cricket people, that's 200 runs, and Jason "Dizzy" Gillespie recently managed 201 not out, which is an amazing achievement. Now unlike the glory days of the 80s and 90s, not everyone in this country can name the Australian cricket team members. So a fair few of her dining companions were intrigued by whom this big-scorer was.
Doris translated "Dizzy" into Jason Gillespie, which unfortunately left most of them still in the dark about the mystery man. Doris is, of course, a veritable expert on everything. I say that in all honesty - the lady has the most phenomenal memory.
"Isn't he a young man?" one of them asked (I think it was Ester, who's an absolute darling, but looks as if she's about 150 years old). Doris to the rescue. "He's thirty-one" she supplied emphatically. Doris probably knew his star sign, favourite colour and where he went to school, as well. At about this time, Dawn had migrated from her table to theirs, to join in the discussion. "I like him. He's a nice looking young man." Mumbled agreement from Ester, who had apparently seen him before and thought he was indeed a nice looking man. "Of course, he used to have long hair," says Dawn, and I could almost hear their jaws hit the floor. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, elderly people still regard long-haired men as Beatnik leftovers who are not to be respected in the least.
"He's much better looking now that he's cut off his hair," insisted Dawn. Dawn is a little old lady who's on the round side and who dresses in cardigans a lot and whose chin is rarely high enough off her chest for you to look her in the face. I had a sudden visual of her camped in front of her tv and drooling over the sexy, sexy, sexy young man in the cricket whites and the baggy green cap. It was becoming difficult to concentrate on my food without exploding in laughter. It was time to make an exit.
I stood up and began to collect my cutlery to move into the kitchen, and meanwhile they were all still discussing that he was quite a good looking man. Then Ester dropped the bomb.
"Is he married?"
I stifled the giggles as best I could. Praise be to the being which gave old people poor hearing.