Last night I visited Grammy. Grammy lives in a very pleasant Assisted Living Facility on the outskirts of Seattle, and I often zip over there after work to join her for dinner. Last night was Sloppy Joes Night so, obviously, I made a point of attending.
Joining us at the dinnertable was B., a woman I had met before and found utterly charming, owing to the fact that she is a delightful conversationalist despite being unable to hear a single word you say. As I sat down, we had this exchange:
Grammy: B., this is my grandson, Matthew.
B.: Hello. How are you?
Me: Just fine, thank you.
B.: Did you just graduate from college last week? Is that why you’re visiting?
Me: From college? No, no, I’ve been out of college for a while now. I’m just here for dinner.
B.: My grandson graduated from Western [Washington University] last week and visited me yesterday. Were you going to Western?
Me: Ah, no, I went to The Evergreen State College.
B.: So, you must be looking for a job now, huh?
Me: Well, actually I have a job. I’ve had it for a few years now.
B.: It’s a tough job market right now.
Me: It sure is. I’m lucky to be employed.
B.: Well, good luck with the job search. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
Me: Okay, thanks. I appreciate that.
Also joining us at the table was W., a amicable curmudgeon (who Grammy later referred to as “a little pill”) who spent the dinnerhour giving me The Unabridged History Of W., 1942-2003. Whenever W. would mention someone in his narrative, he would introduce them by citing their name and something terrible associated with them, such as, “… so then I moved in with my cousin Martin, who later drowned, and my Uncle, who once got robbed at gunpoint.” When W. made reference to other people in the dining hall it was the same thing: “That’s E. who had a stroke” or “have you met C., with the arthritis?” It was as if, to W., the defining characteristic of a person was the worst thing that had ever happened to him. I had just realized this fact when he cracked me up by announcing, out of nowhere, “I have two daughters: one got diabetes and the other moved to Spokane.”
After dinner Grammy and I went back to her pad and watched Knight Rider, followed by two episodes of Golden Girls back-to-back. It was a pretty great evening.