Aug 3, 2010
My 90 year old dad recently decided he didn't like his apartment complex anymore because it was a "slum." The "slum" is one of the nicer complexes around town.
This all began almost immediately after my mom died several years ago. In his grief, he decided to sell his home and move to an apartment far too quickly. The Genius, The Artist, Popi and I had a family pow wow to attempt to present the pros and cons of apartment life to a man who is very set in his ways wanting everything done exactly the way he thinks it should be done and exactly when he thinks it should be done. As a seasoned veteran of apartment life I explained to Popi that he would never be happy with the maintenance crew in an apartment complex. He nodded with that glazed over look that people get when you know they are not listening to you, however, the pow wow seemed to go well. I commented to the Genius that it seemed to go well. She informed me it always seems to go well in discussions with Popi and then the next day he does exactly what he had originally planned on doing anyway. The Genius was, of course, correct and shortly after our pow wow Popi sold his home and moved to "the slum."
The plus side of all of this of course is that we never knew he was unhappy in "the slum" because he would NEVER admit we were correct in our initial reservations about his move prompted by grief. By the time I had figured out he had been creating havoc in the "slum " office and sending dozens of photos of "shoddy" work to the corporate "slum " offices he was already bailing out. I'm surprised they didn't give him a "moving out incentive." This week he moved to a new complex directly next door to the 'slum" complex.
I've been over a few times to help but grow terribly weary watching the severe OCD in action. No shelf is at it's proper height. The movers "ruined" his beds and he had to spend 24 hours "retro-fitting" them. I listened to stories of "idiots" who didn't do this project correctly or didn't do that project correctly. Interestingly enough he is generally the person responsible for the project but has forgotten this, laying the blame somewhere else. He had a big gash on his head from a shelf that was not properly installed in the new apartment. He sawed the edge off. I figure by the time he is 92 he'll have everything "adjusted" to his liking. Or not. For the first time since my moms death he verbalized that he misses her.
I once asked my neighbor Brasilia how in the world i could possibly show honor to a dad who has been difficult to put it mildly. Brasilia is not accustomed to hiding emotions and her face became immediately and sincerely puzzled. " What are you talking about?" she asked. "Most people don't even speak to parents much less difficult than Popi. You honor him daily by always being there for him."
I left today with mixed emotions and drove to the Weigh n' Pay which conveniently happens to be across the street from the new non-slum dwelling. I was in desperate need of thrift therapy.
In the parking lot i ran into one of my favorite characters who is employed by the Weigh n' Pay. Leo (not his real name) is a developmentally disabled adult who likes hats. The first time I met him he had on a black granny, gold lamay, giant church hat with a big gold rose on the brim. We've been friends ever since I told him how much i loved his hat. Recently, he had a toddlers Thomas the Tank Engine ball cap perched on his too big head. He informed me he wore it "because I knew you liked it." Several times I've witnessed Leo having seizures on the job and being lovingly tucked into an office sofa by the supervisor. "He'll be ok." she always assures me.
Today Leo is in the parking lot gathering carts when I arrive. No hat? "Where is your hat?" He gives me a withering look and replies, "i can't wear no hat I got grease in my hair."
And then it starts. I can't wear no hat i got grease in my hair. I can't wear no hat I got grease in my hair. I can't wear no hat I got grease in my hair. I can't wear no hat I got grease in my hair. I can't wear no hat I got grease in my hair.
Um, Leo? I can't wear no hat I got grease in my hair. I can't wear no hat I got grease in my hair. I can't wear no hat I got grease in my hair. I can't wear no hat I got grease in my hair.
I realize most folks would walk away at this point but not me. Short of knocking him upside his hat-less head like you do a malfunctioning CD player I tried everything I could think of to re-route his misfiring neurons. I have no idea why I finally asked him what kind of grease he used but those turned out to be the magic words. "I don't know" he replies, " but it's pink grease." Is it PINK? (I am an avid Pink fan generally buying it by the gallon) "Yeah! That's it! It's called PINK! " Hooray! Mission accomplished! Neurons back in sync. As I was waving goodbye Leo assured me, "Next time I see you I'll wear a hat for you." I look forward to it, Leo.
Our command is this: Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4
Paul sums it up in Romans 12. "...Outdo one another in showing honor..."
You are so right, Paul but it isn't easy. You are so right, Paul but it isn't easy. You are so right, Paul but it isn't easy. You are so right, Paul but it isn't easy. You are so right, Paul but it isn't easy.
Posted by SECRET PEPPER PERSON: at Tuesday, August 03, 2010