April 12, 2020
Do you remember the time when elder was synonymous of wisdom?
You were young, perhaps leaving your house with your mom; you were both walking towards her car and – across the street – there was a woman about to get into her car looking (quite defeated) to an old capricious man standing by the passenger’s seat who was yelling, “I STILL HAVE MY LICENSE!”
Your mom took a quick look at the man and sighed; and while she was opening the door she told you, “That’s your father in twenty years.” But you thought “Nah-ah, not my daddy; he’s perfect.” And then, twenty years later, daddy retired and started flipping the house with your mother – losing her mind – inside, and you thought, “Yup; daddy.”
Even so, there was a little hope: she was still reasonable (with the limitations some mothers exhibit); that, until the world said hello to the COVID-19 quarantine and you put a sign in your front yard: “Winter sale 2 x 1! Parents in human shape! Ring the bell and keep your distance. They’ll be delivered as soon as they’d find their glasses.”
As I’m trying to come up with a way to describe how older people are reacting to the quarantine, I get stuck wondering if it’s possible to avoid sharing my opinion in my own chronicles for the solo purpose of not saying “fuck” that much.
More than once I told my parents “Please, you must remain inside, we all must; tell me what you need; I’ll get it for you” and they replied, “We just go across the street; it’s right here.” The word “fuck” would start shining in my brain like a neon sign but I’d take a deep breath and insist, “Please, the virus can be right there, right outside your door; it doesn’t matter how far you go;” and they’d reply, “We know how to take care of ourselves!”
Needless to say, between trying to figure out a schedule for my ADHD brain and my shameful lack of patience, my frustration was growing driving me to the edge.
Did I try “properly” talking to them? Yes-I-did. I set on a side the fact that – before the quarantine started – I wanted to divorce them (leave them, change my name and move to New York) and, with all that rage in a cage, I explained to them what it was going to happen; I even set my example by starting to purchase goods so I wouldn’t have to leave my house until June. “Please, please; do the same,” I told them; “It’s going to last longer than you think.”
They didn’t believe me because “We’re far away from everybody;” so I started – every single day – taking screenshots of the OMS stats and week after week I showed them how the virus was spreading. They said “ok”, and I’d put my hands on fire swearing that they thought “they’re just numbers.”
Eventually Argentina’s news commenced to explain more about the situation, and everybody would have an opinion that was “the truth.” So, I translated the FAQ from the OMS and I read to them; I showed them the video explaining how to wash their hands, I told them what food to buy (thinking what was going to run out from the shelves) and they… I believe they discovered a way to astral project.
Maybe I did it the wrong way… I say I lack of patience but the truth is I’m blessed with the power to contain my insanity and trying one more time… I always try one-more-time… Now that I think of, is that what patience is?
I googled “covid how to talk to the elderly” and I got over 89 million results; good news: I’m not alone. CNBC, for instance, says “Find their ‘trusted’ messengers;” see where they are getting their information from and share with them a reliable source. I tried that, and it didn’t work.
Hopkins Medicine, says something I didn’t think about: help older adults to stay connected by using technology. My parents don’t have Internet, Facebook, anything; they react to technology like I react to curly kale; and right now everything is shut down, so I have no way to connect them to the internet… “Yay”
No matter how much I read, I keep coming to the same conclusion: communication, patience and love; so, I bet on that too one-more-time. I went over their house to bring them some groceries and I played the “I’m your daughter and you love me (question mark)” card; I told her, “Please, if not for you do it for me; I had pneumonia and bronchospasms; if you caught the virus and pass it to me I may not make it; if you don’t stop leaving the house everyday we’ll have to stop seeing each other.”
She smiled with irony…, and said, “Ok.” The smile meant “We won’t see each other then,” in case that didn’t come clear.
I took a deep breath, opened the door and left; I got inside my car, rolled down the window and yelled, “¡Pelotuda!”. Google that. I’m going to hell.