Observations on my 84 year old father, post-Thanksgiving edition.
The Loid never ceases to astonish me. But then again, I shouldn’t be surprised by anything he does at this point. In fact, I can often predict what he’ll do. I think of what would be the most risky, brazen, selfish or illogical thing to do, and assume he’ll almost surely do it. It lessens the surprise.
The latest development with the Duke of St. Andrews Place revolves around his car. In spite of having no driver’s license or insurance…he’s driving!!! Yes, you heard it right ladies and gentlemen. Mr. “I’m legally blind”, who forgets his grandchildren’s names and his own address, is driving. (By the way: he also forgot a doctor’s appointment where they were supposed to remove a catheter from his pecker, and walked around with it for three extra days. Maybe he liked it?)
He first told me he only drives around the block to make sure the car will run since he’s trying to sell it. He then admitted to my sister, the one who still speaks to him (also known as “TOWSSTH”) that he drives to the gym. She then asked his doctor about it, who said she was calling the DMV as he shouldn’t be driving because he’s legally blind and has memory issues (is there an echo in here?). She also said she diagnosed him with depression almost two years ago and prescribed Remeron and Lexapro. Of course, he won’t take them. He says he’s worried about the side effects of bad dreams. I think he’s worried about impotence. Never mind that he’s 84 and the only action he gets is from his catheter. He’s looking for a younger lady to charm and take him to Florida after he gets plastic surgery.
Ya know, it really does hurt to say that with anything close to a straight face. As usual, I digress…
Finally, sister who doesn’t speak to him (hereinafter known as “SWDSTH”), in a fit of meanness, (or as the rest of us refer to it, “every waking moment of her life”) put a lock on his steering wheel Friday morning. By late morning, as he was getting ready for his daily joyride, he discovered the lock. He calls TOWSSTH and leaves a message. She texts both me and SWDSTH, but won’t call him back. “I’m afraid of his narcissistic rage.” Understandable. His message said he was calling the police! As the three of us exchange texts, it’s decided that I will call him. I’m a thousand miles away, so what can he do to me?
We finally connect. He assumes TOWSSTH did it and proceeds to tells me some dark secret of her teenage years, which I already knew, as if that justifies him continuing to lie and break the law. “What does that have to do with anything Dad?”
Me: “Dad, you can’t drive without a license.”
Dad: “I only drive it when I need to.”
Me: “Dad, that doesn’t change the fact that you can’t drive without a license or insurance. And anyway, first you told me you only drive it around the block, then you told TOWSSTH that you use it to drive to the gym, and we all know you drove out to Santa Monica yesterday. If you hurt someone or damage any property you’ll be fully liable.”
Dad: “I only drive it when I need to.”
Me: “Your doctor called the DMV because she said your memory and eye sight should negate you from being allowed to drive.”
Dad: “She only said that because your sister told her to say that.”
Me: “No Dad, she came to that realization on her own after TOWSSTH said you were driving. Ya know, lots of families take the keys away from elderly family members. If you’re so sure you can drive safely, then why don’t you apply for a driver’s license and take the test?”
Dad: “Because I don’t have the money for it.”
Me: “That still doesn’t allow you to drive without a license or insurance. What are you thinking?”
I never got an answer to that question. This is instinctual, not thought through. His wants are described as needs and then justified by all means necessary.
As to the cost, TOWSSTH is paying for his driver’s tests and lessons. If he passes he gets the keys back. But also relating to costs, note that TOWSSTH told me that he recently got a picture of himself from when he was twenty, with no shirt on, blown up and framed for $170. This is his priority. I think he’s going to use it on a dating website…assuming he ever figures out that internet thing.
Who would have thought that at 84, my dad would seem to have two things on his mind: cars and girls.
© Curt Weiss 2014