“you’ll be many things in your life,” he says, leaning over to pull the keys out of the ignition,  “but never a parallel parker.”

it is true. the old buick’s right tires are planted solidly on the sidewalk. passersby are staring, some laughing. i stare and laugh back. most of them are wearing stupid outfits or carrying ugly handbags — this is nursing home country. are nursing home residents supposed to laugh at other people’s failures? i thought the rigid social hierarchies would’ve faded by now, now that everyone’s pissing in the same brand of diaper and being spoon-fed by the same big-busted orderlies. but no: senior citizens are as catty as the rest of us.

today my grandma pulls a mummified tomato and cheese sandwich out of her purse. she doesn’t remember putting it there. the other day she thought she had an eye appointment when she didn’t. sometimes when we call her on the phone she doesn’t know who we are. my aunts all think it’s the early stages of alzheimers — i say it’s because she’s ninety five effing years old!


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