Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Driving Miss Daisy

This past weekend in Portland, Chris and I were driving Miss Daisy.

On Thursday, Daisy was standing curbside at PDX waiting with the world’s smallest suitcase and her bike box. As we rolled up I noticed she was missing something from her head.

“Miss Daisy, I do believe you forgot your bonnet,” I shouted with the window rolled down. She smiled and seemed to have accepted that for the better part of the weekend she would be the oldest member of our group. And we weren’t about to let her forget.

The rest of the weekend Miss Daisy spent either in the backseat getting carsick or driving while I had flashbacks of a certain someone backing a certain large armored vehicle into a lightpost in San Diego and afterwards a certain someone buying Brillo pads to erase any signs of the white lightpost paint.

Thursday night Miss Daisy needed dinner. Holy crap if you don’t feed the elderly dinner by 4 pm they get ornery. When we took her to dinner she ate about three bites. Is that not the way it always is?

On Thursday afternoon, we went grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s. It started with Daisy saying “I could spend all day in Trader Joe’s.” Have you ever taken your grandma shopping? Exactly. All day affair. Hit three different grocery stores within a 3 mile radius because white bread is on sale at one, ice cream in another, and the last one you’ll visit just in case.


Like any senior hungry for a discount, Daisy walked up and down the aisles, first starting with a basket, then telling Chris “I think we need a cart” which was code for get us a cart right now so I can fill it up with all this stuff that I want but don’t need. Case in point – crumpets. No grown man should eat something called a ‘crumpet’. But somehow she talked my husband into it. She touched everything and commented on her favorite items. And then almost had a breakdown because she couldn’t find her honey. And how can you have tea without honey? You could tell she had been canoodling with a Brit for way too long.

The next day, the phone in our room rang at 6:30 am. It was Daisy. Leave it to the elderly to get up at the crack at dawn. I heard Chris mumble some sleepy nothings to her before hanging up. Feeling bad about leaving someone her age alone for too long in the morning, I quickly called her back. She apologized for calling so early, but said she had been sitting there antsy since 5 am.

And we had committed the cardinal elderly-in-our-care-sin – we had stored the food in our room. No tea, no crumpets, no oatmeal, no honey for Daisy up since 5 am. I could hear her chewing on the phone. No food, just a steady diet of morning news on CNN while she sat in bed with the curtains tightly drawn for fear of being abducted by a killer Portland bear.

After some morning tea and coffee, we went to the grocery store. Again. After sticking her fingers in all of the fancy lotion in the organic section, she went to check out. I watched her almost get into a tussle with a young clerk because she didn’t like his tone of voice.


Later that day, we went shopping at the outdoor mall. I should have known better. I let her drive. You know how the elderly get – stubborn, insistent on their way. Daisy was driving the Envoy down a street and began raising her pointer finger at a woman coming the other way. Daisy was convinced we were on a one way street. With the window rolled down, and her pointer finger waving, she told this woman – oh so politely – that it was one way, a one way street. Over and over again. Then Daisy realized it was actually a two way street. I realized this right away but wasn’t about to spoil the fun. Besides, you know how old people get. They always think they are right.

Miss Daisy was also filled with a lot of stories. In fact, she never stopped talking. It was like her husband had a giant string attached to her. And at 5 am/7 am CST each morning, he pulled it from Illinois and she began. Usually the string ran out by 6 pm. And at that point she went back to her room. Which she kept at a steady 100 degrees. She claimed the air conditioner was broken but you know how old people get chilled easily.

Miss Daisy pulled off a stellar effort at the race. She had a killer swim. But if you’ve seen the movie Cocoon you know that old people love water. So the fast swim makes sense. She rode strong and ran fast. Ended up 6th in her age group, hit her goal, and managed not to soil her pants.

After the race, we were walking back to the car when we saw something that almost caused Daisy to get a bee in her bonnet. It was a guy wearing a bonnet with daisies chained around the edge. Holy crap. Someone was literally wearing Miss Daisy’s bonnet. If she wasn’t so worn out from the race, I think she would have tackled him right there. But in her condition, best she just walk away.

As soon as we got her into the car, she started demanding a trip to IHOP for French toast. Really, who eats French toast at 12 pm? Someone that is getting a head start on breakfast for tomorrow. Because when you are up in years, tomorrow never knows. So better eat French toast and syrup while you can.

Of course this is all in good fun. I had a great time with Jennifer and her alter ego, Daisy. I know that one day, I’ll be her age and if I can still walk by then I know some young whippersnappers will be telling sassy stories about me.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ok, Ok....!! Now, for the record, MISS DAISY is just 36 years old!! And, hosts and whippersnappers, Elizabeth and Chris, were so nice to the 'elderly'....they were lucky that they didn't have to see the dark side of Miss Daisy. I get more ornery in my old age. Thanks for putting up with me!
Miss Daisy....aka Jennifer

Mira Lelovic said...

That was HILARIOUS! You just reminded me how much I miss Trader Joe's (the only place I ever tried a crumpet, with some lemon spread on it). I also think 5pm is a very reasonable dinner time, especially if you're asleep by 9pm!