Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Awkward conduct

When I arrived at the nursing home today mum was sitting near the front desk on the first floor. She was waiting to have her hair cut. I sat down with her to wait and after a while a man came out of the salon and collected her to go inside. I remained waiting on my chair in the hallway. When mum came out with her hair done I went back with her down the hall towards her room past the dining room.

In the TV room she stopped and approached an elderly man in a reclining chair who is often there. She bent over him as he dozed and gave him a kiss on his head. As mum came down the hallway, I said to her, "You know you shouldn't do that any more." "Why?" asked mum. "He said to me once that you were running around with your petticoats hanging out," I said. Mum looked at me with her eyes and I could see the bags under them were coloured darker than the rest of the skin on her face. She looked a bit shocked.

But it was true. He had said these words to me some months beforehand, although I had never told mum about it. I was waiting for the right time to inform her of the news. The man - who I had been introduced to on one occasion as my mother's son - had beckoned me over to his recliner chair with his hand. As I leaned down to hear what he had to say he uttered those words. I was a bit startled, to be frank, and not at all sure how to take the information, and I probably said to him in return something along the lines of, "Ok" before going about my business. But now it seemed the right time to tell mum what he had said.

"I think he's a bit ..." "Randy," offered mum before I could continue. "No," I said, "I was actually going to say 'nasty'." "Yes," she said. "Maybe you shouldn't do that any more," I said to her. "Yes," she said, "I won't."

It's still not clear to me if mum's exertions in the oscular department were welcomed by the man. It seems to me that I remembered once he had beckoned to mum with his hand once in the same way that he had beckoned to me, as she had been walking down the hallway toward the dining room. He may have been aiming for a kiss, or so it was that it seemed to me. But then why the off-colour remark? It would appear on the face of it to be a kind of warning to mum to stay away. Unless he was, in actual fact, a bit of a letch and had just wanted to share his victory over the opposite sex with me. It's hard to know with people.

We'll see how mum goes in her endeavour not to kiss this one particular gentleman any more. She tends to forget things, of course, and so it's highly likely that she will just resume planting kisses on his forehead as she has been doing for some months now. It's difficult to know what she'll do. I do think, though, that my remarks to her this time made something of an impression, to gauge from her reaction to them. We can only hope. Personally, I find the whole 'romance-in-aged-care' thing a bit off.

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