Thursday, 14 July 2011

Mouse lady.

In order to get from A to B and then back to A, I use public transport. I don't drive, a lovely friend did try to teach me once but I could smell the fear that was dripping from every one of her pores after a few minutes so I quickly decided that this was not a good idea, the world is a far safer place for this. Public transport is the bane of my life. Not only does it cost a ridiculous amount of money but I also have to share my journey with nose pickers, water phobics and people who have no respect for their ears or the ears of anyone else sitting within a three mile radius. Occasionally I will meet people who make me think.

Mouse lady is about 60. She waltzed onto the bus, laden with lipstick and carrying her stuffed toy mouse. She stumbled down the bus and chose to sit behind me. Throughout the whole of the journey she was telling her stuffed mouse to be quiet, 'shhh!' I didn't laugh, I couldn't see anything funny or disturbing about her but I did feel sad. Sad that she could have been someones mother, someones granny. I had thoughts of my own mother, how devastated I would feel if she was in this position, so lonely that she had nothing but a stuffed mouse for company.

10 years ago the elderly had families around them, neighbours that would stop by to see how they were. I admit to not knowing a vast amount of my neighbours. My immediate neighbours I know well but others come and go with the university terms and it can be difficult to keep track of who lives where and it's the elderly who fall through the net. I speak to the bus drivers, they are paid 51 pence for each OAP who takes a ride on the bus (it's free for the pensioner) and he admits that the vast majority of them sit and ride to the end of the line, and then back again on an almost daily basis because they have nothing to do and they are lonely. I find this heartbreaking.
 As a new parent I was lonely. It's very isolating having a baby to care for and every day blends into one, relentless feeds and nappy changes. I would make up excuses to get out of the house with him so in a way, he was my mouse. My mouse has now grown, he's 12 and I can have a conversation with him. One day he will be living his life and I will be waiting for his visits. Maybe I will be the one sitting on the bus all day with my stuffed mouse.

10 comments:

  1. No, you won't. Well, you will wait for his visits, but you will be (are) of a generation that makes more friends, is not embarrassed to call on those friends when lonely or sad, and can reach out to people. You have lots of remote and near friends who will sustain you - you only need to talk to the mouse if you want to.

    And who's to know whether the old lady 'only' had the mouse? She might have been escaping for some quiet time with her mouse from a house full of noisy, annoying grandchildren/lodgers/lunatics.

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  2. I have plans for my old age, they involve sitting in the Italian country side, sipping wine and eating olives. I'm blessed to have so many lovely people around me (remote and near) but I feel sadness for those who are not as fortunate.

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  3. Me too! With Mary Hoffman - as detailed in our video on ABBA (which I won't link to as it's embarrassing). We will have to swap Italian addresses and visit each other for local delicacies.

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  4. You'll have to link it to my twitter account. Learning Italian is on my list of things to do, such a beautiful language. I need someone to publish my work first though as I can get through a fair amount of Italian wine.

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  5. This is really sad. I understand how you feel completely, things like that always make me think of my own parents and how I couldn't bear it to be them in that situation.

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  6. I hope things change quickly, community centres can so easily be opened up in the day times so that they can have a chance to meet with others.

    Your parents will always have you Rebecca. Even a phone call can lift someone's spirits. It's nice to just know that we are thought about sometimes.

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  7. That is such a sad post. We can only hope that when the time comes, we shall have the comfort of our friends and loved ones around us in old age.

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  8. I use public transport a lot too, and there are mouse-lady equivalents on my usual route. Sometimes I have brief sympathetic thoughts about them, then step off the bus and forget; but reading your post is making me want to do something, if only look up our local community centres & maybe see if they have specific donation needs or something.

    Your post also reminded me that although I have been reading a lot of blogs lately, I don't think I've seen ANY about issues relating to the elderly or the problems they face or the way they are so often sidelined, let down, not cared for. It is such a massive issue but people seem to find it very, very easy to ignore. I'm including myself in that. Thought-provoking stuff; thank you.

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  9. Thank you for your comment. I think it's a huge issue, these ladies and gentlemen have been our teachers, or nurses or are our grandparents. They deserve more then a mouse or a free bus trip. The nearest community centre for the elderly that is open during the day is miles away from where I live, yet there is one at the end of my road which is closed for most of the year. It seems like a waste of opportunity.

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