Thursday, July 11, 2013
Sweet as Tea on Me
I'm filling my styrofoam cup with a mixture of sweet and unsweetened tea in the nursing home cafeteria. I glance at the room and notice one man is sitting in his wheelchair and moving his feet like he is walking. He is slowly inching himself and the wheelchair towards the table closest to the door.
I am making small-talk with the cafeteria employee talking about todays lunch menu, school lunch pizza. It smells so good, but all food smells fantastic when in a state of grief.
The man makes his way to the table. He sits there patiently waiting and watching me. I ask him, "Is the food here any good?"
I repeat myself, "Is the food here any good?"
I'm not a patient person and I get easily frustrated when I have repeat myself more than twice. But, I think, 'Perhaps I'm not speaking loud enough.'
His hair is long and unkempt. I cannot see if he has hearing aids. I'll repeat myself again, this time a little louder, "Is the food here any good?"
He put his right hand up to his right ear, "HUH?"
I walk closer to him and his table. I naturally think that I should make the international sign for eating. I hold my left hand like a bowl and use my right hand like I'm spooning imaginary food into my open mouth. This time I'm very loud and ennunciate my short words as I ask, "Is the food good?"
A slow grin creeps across the man's face. The twinkle in his eye is gleaming. He says, "I was just kidding with you, I could hear you the whole time. I wanted you to come over to talk to me. The food here is pretty good." Then he winked.
Sweet Tea is not the only thing that is sweet on the ladies around here.