In the very early stages of adulthood, I co-managed an independent-living retirement facility. It was like living and working in Melrose Place (if you exchanged the young, beautiful actors with decrepit senior citizens that shit themselves and complain that either the lobby is too cold or the portions at dinner are too large). And this wasn’t an 8-hour-a-day gig, either. As co-manager, I had my own one-bedroom apartment within the three-story, 125-apartment facility, right next door to a short, curmudgeonly woman who complained my pictures were hung too high on my wall. But this chapter of my life wasn’t wasted as these elderly patrons of this magical place taught me a few things, whether I wanted to learn them or not. For example:
1. You Never Outgrow Sex
Let me get this one out of the way first. It’s unsettling, but it’s true. Old people like to “do it.” Even your grandparents. In the Viagra era, seniors are porking as if they’re vacationing at a Hedonism II resort. I watched many old women scurry out of their neighbor’s apartment behind their walkers, hair disheveled, clothes frumpy, and their panties dangling from their hand. Thankfully, none of the debauchery during my short tenure resulted in an embarrassing call for an ambulance.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not judging because chances are pretty high that if I live that long, I’ll be one of those wrinkled whores.
2. You Can’t Always Rely on Your Looks
If you don’t have any interesting skills, may I suggest you develop one now. Cute, hot, and/or sexy may get you the attention you want now, but time is a nasty, abusive bitch. Through observation, I learned that the happier elders are the ones that never had looks to begin with (or never relied on them). These cheerful seniors loved to show off how they could still press their hands against the floor without bending their knees or made excitable noises when pushed in a wheelchair. The former narcissists, however, stayed in their apartment, moping about life in the past and what they could never get back. And there is no amount of cosmetic surgery that will help you. Think on that, pretty boys.
3. If You Have Nothing Better to Do, You Will Complain. Always.
One of my job responsibilities was to keep the old folks busy. I assumed the purpose of this duty was to exercise their failing minds and bodies, but when I experienced a lull in activity, I learned its honest purpose: to shut them the Hell up. When Gray Hairs didn’t have anything to distract them from thinking about dying or why their family never visited, they griped about the most innocuous shit. “The chairs in the parlor aren’t in the right spot.” “Someone left a coffee cup on the table in the dining room.” “There’s a place on the carpet in the west corridor of the third floor that is swept in a different direction.” “So-and-so shouldn’t be dressed like that in the lobby.” “It’s too cold.” “It’s too hot.” This is why I can no longer work in the service industry: they have already exhausted my lifetime supply of “be nice” vouchers.
4. You Can Lose Your Will to Live
I could always tell which new residents would die shortly after moving in. These types were never enthusiastic about moving to a retirement community in the first place. They were forced into the decision by their children. Once settled in, they just gave up. Nothing made them happy, nothing inspired them, and nothing motivated them. In a matter of months, they would pass away from natural causes. This occurred too often to be coincidence. I even knew a lady that passed away from natural causes only one week after her husband of fifty years died because she couldn’t live without him. So if you cherish your elderly relative, keep them in a stable environment as long as possible because in a retirement community, you check in, but you never check out.