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April 6, 2021
I had to take Dad to the bank today. What should have been a 10 minute thing turned into about an hour.
- almost falls getting up on the curb out of the parking lot
- puts on mask (he HATES this thing with all of his heart because it wreaks havoc with his 1984 model hearing aid).
- slowly walks into the bank making sure I’m close by so that if he gets wobbly, I’m there to catch him.
- gets up to the teller rather quickly
- “SHE NEEDS YOUR ID” at least 4 times because he couldn’t figure out what I was saying.
- Reaches in pocket for ID, mask flings off knocking 1984 model hearing aid to the tile floor and breaking into 761 tiny pieces.
- I gather all the various parts and hold on to them while trying to explain to the teller who I am and why I am speaking for this man and what the person on the phone told me I had to do when I got into the bank. All the while dad is poking me and asking (very loudly because he can’t hear himself anymore without the hearing aid) me to hand him all 761 tiny pieces so he can begin trying to put this thing back together… yeah right.
- Teller is super helpful and once she sees dad is who he says he is, she’s fine to help with task #1: Update his accounts to reflect his current address. Yes… I tried to call to do this yesterday but since they can’t verify dad’s identity on a phone call since he can’t talk on the phone… we had to go into the office.
- Done with address change, now to talk to the Financial Assistant about task #2 - his investment account. He didn’t receive a tax form for both accounts so he needs to know what happened to the other account. Except he won’t move from the teller’s station (despite the line of people waiting to be served) because he’s still trying to reassemble his 761 piece 1984 model hearing aid AT THE TELLER WINDOW.
- Finally convince him to step aside so that other people can be waited on. He’s PISSED now. I’m frantically apologizing to everyone who are all being SO NICE!
- walk over to the Financial Assistant’s area and Dad is in a panic because he’s missing a very important piece of 1984 model hearing aid. I immediately get up and retrace his steps to try and find a miniscule flesh-colored hook thing (that matches the color of the bank tile PERFECTLY by the way )
- Customer #2 locates the missing piece and I thank him profusely while watching to make sure dad is still upright and steady.
- I get dad seated at Financial Assistant’s area and I begin trying to explain that we need a tax form for his other account as the one that we received in the mail only had one of his accounts listed while dad has piled the 762 pieces of 1984 hearing aid on the Financial Assistant’s desk to reassemble there.
- Dad suddenly decides he wants to explain to the Financial Assistant exactly what he needs (although I’ve already explained this to him and he’s already started working on getting what we need). Dad is still talking EXTREMELY LOUDLY, again because he can’t hear without his 1984 hearing aid. Let’s be honest… he can’t hear WITH his 1984 hearing aid either but for some reason it was critical that he (re) explain what I just explained… and it was even more critical for him to put this fucking hearing aid back together even though he’d still be deaf as a post WITH the fucking thing. So the Financial Assistant and I both listen patiently as dad tries to explain.
- Financial Assistant gets all the information I need and was absolutely AWESOME with me and with dad. I love this man with all my heart. He was so patient and kind! I seriously might send him a thank you note with a Starbucks card… he was an ANGEL! But dad is sitting STILL trying to assemble the 782 pieces of 1984 hearing aid and Financial Assistant’s other customers are waiting for us to vacate.
- Dad is not going ANYWHERE until this sucker is put back together. I type on my phone screen “We need to move out of this space so the other customers can meet with Financial Assistant.” Dad is PISSED… not at me or at the other customers… but at the situation. He’s embarrassed and probably pretty freaked out that he’s broken his 1984 model hearing aid.
- I help him gather up the pieces and he insists that I hand them all to him. WHY DAD?! WHY? You’re going to drop them again on the way to the car and I can put them all in my zipper pocket and we can reassemble everything at home on the table where it’s flat and there are no customers waiting and where we don’t have flesh colored tile so we will see the tiny pieces if they fall on the kitchen floor. Nope. Dad wanted all of them in his wobbly hand right then and there. So I hand them over.
- dad shoves the pieces sloppily in his open jacket pocket and I’m deep-breathing my way back to the car… all while making sure he doesn’t fall off the curb or get hit by an oncoming vehicle.
- Dad flops in the car and IMMEDIATELY takes out a handful of the 762 pieces and tries (IN A MOVING VEHICLE) to reassemble. Needless to say… it’s not working. And I’m watching him drop pieces all over the car and get even more frustrated and…
-DING DING DING DING DING (passenger is not wearing his seatbelt). FUUUUUUUUUCK. Have I mentioned my father HATES seatbelts almost as much as he hates masks? So… do I make him put his seatbelt on or do I just ignore the dinging and pray for sweet death (MINE… not his!!)? I opt to ignore the dinging because trying to get him to put on a seatbelt at this point would be futile.
- maybe music will help me tune out the dinging? NOT THE FUCKING TIME FOR HAPPY, Pharrell, but thank you for the attempt! Turn the station to 1970s instead of easy listening… that’ll help. Dad is now feeling around for some of the 762 pieces that he’s dropped in the car… I want to pull my hair out so I begin to pray to my mother “Dear MOM! Please do something to calm dad down and NOT try to put his fucking hearing aid back together in the moving car. He’s making me crazy!”
-Mom’s been dead for 30 years but mom answered in a way only mom can. “FOR FUCK’S SAKE, HE CAN’T HEAR!! Imagine how awful that must be for him. And even though the 1984 hearing aid only allows him to hear a little bit, for him it’s better than nothing! So maybe YOU’RE the one who needs to calm down and let him do whatever he needs to do to feel more in control.” Ahhh… thanks for the clarity, mom!
And at that point I did calm the fuck down. Dad continued to search for the missing pieces without his seatbelt on. He continued to try to put things back together just enough to be able to hear anything at all till we got home where he could unbox his new (2015 model) hearing aid that he had been saving till the old one went out.
It’s me that needs to chill out and let him be whatever it is that he needs to be. He’s old. He’s tired. He gets angry with himself when he thinks he’s inconveniencing anyone. At least I was able to remain calm on the outside… for him. Now I just need to work on remaining calm on the inside for me.
And I turned up the radio… Yes, Ray Stevens… Everything really is Beautiful!