I took Okaasan downtown yesterday.
No, I haven't suddenly gone all sweet and helpful. I wasn't planning to spend hours of my precious weekend shopping with her...I just, literally took her downtown (and she chose the "old, dirty" coat to wear :-))
The roads are still icy beneath the first real snowfall and she hasn't been out for 3 days. It's hard to do this in a working week.
Oh, her walking. So frail and doddery. And kind of tilted forwards all the time. She took the stick, but she doesn't really use it effectively. More like holding it in front of her and patting the ground with it. The snow has set in dips and slopes. It was scary watching her walk.
I let her choose the route - because she now avoids the place where she fell last year and walks round the long way on another street.
I let her choose where we waited for the subway train and which exit we used downtown.
Then I said Goodbye and telephoned the friend I was going to meet, and I slightly followed Okaasan as she took far exit from the subway station and then double-backed and headed to her currently-favorite coffee shop.
Watching her walk: sad. A lady who has travelled the world and led an eventful life. Doddering along. Near the coffee shop is an empty lot and the pavement is covered with knarly, ridged snow and ice. She teetered over it slowly.
One day I will be like this. In a city of rushing, busy people. Doddering along to sit alone in a coffee shop, in the hope that a familiar face will come and talk to me. And I don't have children. So there won't even be someone waiting for me at home with a cooked dinner and bright chat.
That's why I am saving money for the best retirement home ever.
I spent a few hours with my friend and her baby down the German-themed Christmas market and the winter illuminations. It was scarily icy in the park. Must wait for a few more snowfalls before we bring Okaasan down here. I'm sure she doesn't go there on her own, she is fixed in her routines: Subway station - coffee shop - department store- underground walking area - subway - home.
After an hour or two I headed home at 6 pm.
I wanted to get home myself to check on the GPS on the computer, so I could see Okaasan heading home and go out and meet her at the local subway station.
Got into the house. Heating. Cats' dinner. Computer On. GPS set.
Computer search.....map pops up on the screen. The little star is....???
Oh! She's almost here already! The street across the subway line. Strange? Wonder why she came home that way?
I put on my coat again and went out to meet her.
Go home. Re-check the computer.
Ok - now she is in our street. Almost home actually.
I look out the window. I go and stand outside. Looking.
Did she drop the phone? Is she buried in a snow drift????
Standing there looking up and down the street....brainwave.
The GPS gives approximate readings...correct within 20 meters or so....hmmm....ahhhh....the neighbor's house? She is inside????
I open the neighbor's mailbox and peer into her entrance hall.
Okaasan's boots are inside.
She'd lost the front door key. Again. Came home, loaded down with yet another heavy, glossy magazine, and when she couldn't get inside the house. She went to the neighbor. Two old ladies sat chatting together. Must have been an interesting conversation...the 90 year old neighbor is sliding into dementia too :-)
When she came home we looked for the key. Hopeless really. Never mind needles in haystacks. This is key in a pile of papers/receipts/bags/towels/persimon peelings/purses/bits of cardboard. After 10 minutes of opening and closing the same little bags and purses I gave up and went to cook dinner.
I'll get another key cut. And maybe she'll find the key. Or not.....