spiders, sex and the modern senior by juleshg

24 Jan

Margaret narrowed her eyes and stared at the spider on the ceiling.  At one point in her life she would have been terrified and screamed for Peter to climb up on the nightstand and kill it for her.  But now Peter was gone and the spiders no longer bothered her.  Unable to kill them on her own she had adopted a “live and let live” policy when it came to the creatures.

She wondered if other people – namely her daughter – could ever adopt a similar philosophy with her.  Since Peter passed away, Rose had become even more opinionated about the way Margaret lived her life.  Margaret wondered how the little girl who once sang and played with such joy had turned into such a bitter, angry woman.

It had been three years since Peter died lying beside her in this very bed.  She had fallen asleep comforted by the familiar sound of his snoring and when she awoke to silence at 2 a.m. she knew he was gone.  The couple had just moved into the retirement home and now she was there alone; unable to get out to run errands, walk the mall or see the friends from her old neighbourhood.

Rose always got annoyed when Margaret complained about being stuck in the retirement home.  One Saturday Rose arrived in a huff and sat Margaret down with the head nurse to review the schedule of activities available to residents.  “For goodness sake Mother, they have bingo, sing-a-longs and bridge games.  What else could you want?”  Margaret had never done any of these things in her previous life and did not understand why these pastimes were supposed to amuse her now that she was old and alone.

Last week Margaret found herself in the main lounge when one of the nurses announced it was time for the weekly seminar.  Previously she had avoided the lectures about gentle exercise, nutrition and good sleep habits but she was at the back of the room and unable to find her way to the door before the talk started.  To her surprise the room was packed as the nurse began an information session about sex and the senior.  She wondered if anyone was really listening to the young woman or if they were simply trying to find out who else in the building was still interested in sex.

Now, as she looked over at Howard asleep on the pillow next to her she smiled thinking about how angry Rose would be.  If her daughter was too busy to take her out of the residence now and again then she would have to find things to do on her own wouldn’t she?

Rose would not be the only one annoyed at Margaret.  Last week when Howard moved into the residence, several other women informed her that as the most-recent widow in building she should not move too quickly to woo him.  Margaret thought the whole idea was crazy.  She was 84-years old and not willing to waste time on some silly pecking-order.

Those were the kind of issues that should have been covered in the “Seniors and Sexuality” lecture.  She had not learned much from the young nurse who had been tasked to review the new rules of dating.  Had she been paying attention she would have asked the truly important questions: What is the etiquette for meeting a new partner?  How do you stop dating someone who lives in the same residence?  How does one open a condom wrapper if their hands are crippled with arthritis? (Margaret imagined that this was not answer which would be readily available to someone calling the 1-800 number listed on the box.)


6 Responses to “spiders, sex and the modern senior by juleshg”

  1. jadamthwaite January 24, 2010 at 9:16 pm #

    😀 I wasn’t expecting that! Should have been, what with the title and all, but somehow wasn’t! I’m glad she found a way to be happy there.

  2. lydiajayne16 January 24, 2010 at 9:43 pm #

    Laughed out loud at this… Thanks 🙂

  3. ingridfnl January 24, 2010 at 9:52 pm #

    🙂 Fantastic and unexpected. I really loved the lines: “Margaret had never done any of these things in her previous life and did not understand why these pastimes were supposed to amuse her now that she was old and alone,” and “Margaret imagined that this was not answer which would be readily available to someone calling the 1-800 number listed on the box.”

    🙂 Great stuff.

  4. typicalquirk January 25, 2010 at 2:55 am #

    I love how this is a realistic vision of people in retirement homes. She is lonely, and needs a partner. Loved it!

  5. phoenix.writing January 30, 2010 at 10:27 pm #

    LOL This was great. Now I really want to know what the response would be if I phoned that 1-800 number and asked that question….

    Loved that dry comment about how she hadn’t liked bridge, etc., before and couldn’t see why she should suddenly be interested in it now.

    Interesting to see the breakdown of familial relationships; it’s definitely sad when all Margaret wants now is for Rose to adopt a “live and let live” policy. Perhaps she can be shocked into better behaviour with the existence of Howard? 😉


  1. a conversation between floors by juleshg « the character project - April 18, 2010

    […] met Margaret in spiders, sex and the modern senior and Lightening Never Strikes […]

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