Monday, October 08, 2007

The Lonesome Elder

Old couples move to Florida. Old single women move to Madison, Wisconsin. Or maybe Madison produces old single women. This is like the chicken or the egg debate, only instead of a chicken, it’s an old single woman, and instead of an egg, it’s… also an old single woman.

The Lonesome Elder’s primary habitat is on the bus, but one can also find them wandering on the sidewalk, like I did three weeks ago. My roommate Per and I were en route to a friend’s house when an elderly woman waved us down. We waited impatiently for her to hobble over to us. When she eventually neared, she cracked like an egg.

“I have spent my whole day trying to contact AT&T,” she insanely spouted as if she wanted moral support from two strangers, “So they tell me to come down to the building. Well, here I am. And look at this. There’s no handicapped entrance.” She waved her cane in the air, in case we hadn’t noticed her impairment, or perhaps it was directed toward the wretched handicapped-entrance-less building.

“I have wasted so much time,” her voice quivered. She was literally holding back tears as I tried desperately to hold back laughter. “It’s just so hard.” I was no longer able to contain myself, so I turned my head and let out a small chuckle that aurally resembled a gasp of air. I turned back to find her, blinded by anger, unaware that I was laughing on the inside and no longer the least bit concerned.

She ranted for another two minutes about AT&T, one-way streets, and possibly hard candy; I stopped listening. Finally she thanked us for our time, which we of course accepted. We lost a good three minutes of our lives, but I didn’t feel too bad. It was nothing compared to what AT&T apparently put this woman through.

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