Thursday, 21 July 2011

Forget your pants.... Go commando....

This afternoon I took the boys for a swim.  Nothing odd about that, I hear you say.  And you’re right.  The only thing that’s different is that we went at a time of day that we never normally go.

As I sat in the mixed steam room with three strangers, a head bobbed round the door.

“Excuse me” it said, “have any of you seen my pants?”

And there she was, a vision of…. well… Hmmm.  How to describe her?  OK – she was probably at least 75 years old, wearing a knitted woolly hat, thick woolly ankle socks, a dress, and a rather confused expression.

“No, sorry, we haven’t!” came our reply, as we all stifled our laughter.  And off she went.

Later, when I went to the changing rooms, she was still there.  She didn’t seem to remember having asked me before, so again she asked if I knew the whereabouts of her pants.  Clearly, she was very confused.  It did even cross my mind that the woolly hat on her head might in fact be a pair of knickers.

“It’s not the end of the world” she continued.  “I can easily go home without them.” 

It’s puerile, I know, but I couldn’t help but comment “Good job it’s not a windy day!”

Finally, after a further 10 minutes fruitless searching, she gave up the hunt and went home.  And I began to think.

In 30-40 years time, that could be me.  I wondered whether she was developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.  Does she have children or family who are aware of her condition and keep an eye out for her?

I always remember as a child, visiting my Grandfather in hospital.  He was in a ward full of elderly people, of varying mental capacity, who didn’t seem to have a single visitor between them.  Even as a seven year old, I could appreciate how sad it was.  So as I started to get dressed, I decided that I would have a word with the staff, to see whether she had any ‘next of kin’ or someone they could alert about her confused state.

And that’s when I discovered…. Damn it… I’d lost my pants!  No, seriously.  I had no pants in my bag.  I started to get the giggles about it.  The prospect of being demented seemed suddenly much more real. 

So I had a word with the staff as I left, in the hope that they would find someone to call about this poor old woman.

And me? I went home commando.  And the kids are STILL laughing about it…

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