Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The 84 Year Old Harlot

At the June meeting of the South Bay New Orleans Jazz Club (aka jazz club) the first thing we saw after we walked in the door was -- you guessed it, Bernie and Lou out on the dance floor.  They were the only ones dancing; you couldn't miss'em.  Bernie in black slacks, sweater, newsboy cap and Lou in a new dress; a kind of cobalt blue with a swirly skirt.  Bernie now looks as if he was constructed from pipe cleaners, but Lou seemed as robust as ever.

My heart sank at this sight.  I reached into my purse and put the cell phone on the table in front of me, leaned back in my chair and tapped a foot to the rollicking music.

We hadn't seen them at the May meeting and I'd thought at the time, "Good, I can turn off the cell phone.  If they're not here, I won't have to call the paramedics."

The music may have been too rollicking because suddenly there were people crowding onto the floor, bending over and reaching down.  Bernie and Lou had fallen again.  I grabbed the cell and hurried out of the bedlam to the sidewalk so I could hear the operator and be heard myself.

Quickly I found and punched in the direct dial number for the Redondo Beach dispatcher only to hear a cooing voice saying, "I'm sorry; you have reached a number that is not in service at thes time."  *  Flipped the phone shut, then dialed 911.

"What is the nature of your emergency?"

I said, tersely, "Elderly couple, down on the dance floor at the Knights of Columbus, 214 Avenue I, Redondo Beach."

"Well, what do you mean 'down on the dance floor'?"

"They fell down!"

"Are they hurt?"

"I don't know - I came outside to call!"

"Well, how can we help you if you don't know --"

"Never mind!" I roared, "I'll take care of it!" and slammed the phone shut.  I was so frustrated and thus angry that I was shaking.

I went back inside and saw that Lou's right elbow was being treated for an abrasion by the bartender, who had pulled out the first aid kit.  Bernie was safely seated in a chair back at their table, his walker folded neatly beside him.  I have no idea why he doesn't use it out on the dance floor because he does everywhere else.

I sat down and the phone rang.  911 had called me back!  I didn't know they could/would do that!  It was a different voice and we managed to sort out our difficulties.  I did say that this was the second time they'd fallen at this event; that when you have elderly people crashing around in a private building during a public event, for insurance purposes and liability issues, it's a good idea to call the paramedics to officially assess their condition.  I assured her of their apparent well-being and we left it at that and we hung up. 

Paul, the club president, had the misfortune to walk by and I stopped him.  I begged him to have a word with the Dancing Fools and he looked helpless and gave a half shrug.  He said, "I know she wants to keep him moving..." and I snarled, "They have chair exercises!"  He nodded.  I raged on, "Perhaps she would like to dance with him on a rug?  Or put a helmet on him?"

Possibly to divert me from a course that clearly didn't bode well for him, he said, excitedly, "I saw it!  Bernie started to go over backwards and she was pulling on him, but he hit that point of no return and she managed to let him down slowly, but then she lost her balance and fell on top of him!"

The band resumed playing and Bernie and Lou sat beaming at their table.  Some time later, I saw her come walking back into the room, carrying a glass of white wine, sipping coquettisly on it as she walked.  I put the whole thing out of my mind - or tried to at any rate.  I was still furious about the snotty 911 operator.  My adrenalin had kicked in big time on that one.  Not that mine is a lamblike temperament on any given day...

Our handsome scholarship student Roberto, 21, was with friends on our side of the room.  This afternoon, he'd branched out from piano accompaniment to singing with his playing and had favored us with a couple of songs in a rich baritone. 

I saw Lou walk up to his table, lean forward and address him.  They chatted briefly; she all smiles; he with a bemused grin.

"How nice," I thought, "She told him she enjoyed his singing" and thought no more about it.

Richie went to get us a beer and through the window in the bar, I saw Lou walk up to Richie and kiss his cheek and I thought, 'How nice - she's thanking him for hauling her husband up off of the floor!" 

She came out of the bar, white wine glass in hand and sat next to Bernie, head nodding merrily to the music.

Richie returned and idly, I asked, "Was Lou thanking you for your help with Bernie?"

"No," he said, "She asked me to dance with her (my dropped jaw nearly landed on a mustard smear on the tile floor) but I told her, 'Nah, two left feet.'"   Then he had an after-thought and frowned slightly.  "She told me that was Roberto's excuse, too!"

I was absolutely, literally gob-smacked.  She's 84 and she's running around soliciting men to dance with her!?

I will try to be charitable here; bear with me; it's not easy for me to be charitable especially to some antiquated bimbo who is flirting with my husband, but I'll try.  Perhaps the white wines (plural) combined with the adrenalin of their fall could have caused her to behave like that - importuning a 21 year old and a 72 year old to dance.  At least she certainly isn't into age discrimination.

The harlot. 

* I'd put in the wrong number; situation now fixed.

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