All is well with the new digs except--I have a problem to solve. Today I just got angry and went for it. I've had the same table mates for the entire month, and apparently could have them forever. I have a problem with the system and with my table mates. I was arbitrarily seated and told this is my chair forever. The woman to my left has no interest in anything. She claims to remember nothing she did during the day and doesn't talk. Next around is profoundly deaf; anything must be repeated several times. She tries to be interested, but is more into her pot of tea. The woman to my right is 93, and also quite deaf.
I spent a week trying to make conversation, to no avail. I do know the first woman came with a husband who died a couple of years ago. "He was a drinker!" she said. End of that conversation. The next woman I've quit trying to learn anything about; conversation is impossible. The third woman I like; she tries to participate. I help two and three open their creamers and locate the sugar. The third, Marge, has begun to open up to my oft repeated questions.
In addition to her age, I've learned she used to work for a Cleveland furniture store, Sidley, I believe. Her job was to run the nursery, where customer's children could be deposited. She loved that job and had it until she fell and was a long time recovering from broken bones.
There has been no mutual conversation, but at least I can elicit a little history from one. I thought I could leave it at that; I was getting to know a number of the other women who came to some of the activities and they teased me about the dead weight at my table and suggested I ask for a change.
Then I caught Marge's cold. Marge on the left has been coughing since I arrived. She assured me she has been tested for everything and it is a chronic condition. About a week ago one of the employees began insisting Marge wear a mask. (There are two Marge's. On my dinner left, big Marge. On my dinner right, little Marge.) It was a power struggle and big Marge disobeyed as often as she could. The cough got worse, and I caught it. My first cold in forty years.
Yesterday I was too sick to care. I wore a mask in public and to dinner, which I was too sick to eat. I did tell Marge I caught it from her, and today I called the director and told her how to handle the problem. And that is exactly what the staff has been doing all day.
I said they could move Marge or move me, I didn't care which. When I was over the cold and mask wearing, they could find me a new table, a little more animated, though it would be kind to send little Marge along with me.
Of course half the population knew the situation by lunch, which amused me no end. My table didn't, however, so I sent word over that I was recovering from Marge's cold and then would move to a new table as Marge needed to get to the bottom of her "chronic cough", and take care not to pass it along in the meantime. I am surprised the powers that be did not not insist on it. The director told me that Marge claimed to be cured and I said where was the proof?
But, this is the same administration that does not update information packets, pass out mandatory buzzers on a timely basis, or issue third room keys when requested. Why do something as simple as ask that a chronic cough be cured or OK'd by a doctor, especially in the face of a rising new Covid wave.
I'll just tell you now, tomorrow I may well do battle with maintenance. I bought a new towel assembly to replace the el-cheapo unit in the bathroom. John, Mr. Maintenance, told me I had to buy anything I wanted and he'd install it. My apartment, my purchase.
So I made him a nice list: put up the towel bar, bring screws to repair three kitchen cupboard doorpulls. After one, I tested all and found three door pulls are short the bottom screw! Then he can straighten out my Netflix and Hulu, and finally, rehang the clock Beth climbed a stool to take down to change the battery, but even tiptoes wouldn't get her high enough to replace it.