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9:15 a.m. - 2010-04-19
Delusions of Men

I don't talk about it every time as I was doing, but I'm still chugging along at the gym. MIL and I changed days to accommodate my thing on Thursdays. Now we go Tuesdays and Fridays. A few of the faces are familiar, either they go more frequently than we do or like us they changed work-out days, but there's also new people to observe and (because I'm irrepressible that way) become nodding acquaintances with. At least with the women. I cut the men a wide berth. One- because most of the men have horrible gym manners what with hogging the machines to sit on playing statues or having confabs with their buddies, or they're strutting around posing in the mirrors and strewing their empty water bottles everywhere. And two- because no one should get the wrong idea. Most of the dudes at PF during our workout hours are around my age or older and their smug self-assurance about how fricken irresistible they are comes off them in noxious reeking waves. It's really gross. Legends in their own minds, most of them, and to even try to exchange a friendly nod or a remark about how a certain machine is a killer and they puff right up like bloaty toads and just ooze, "Oh yeah, she wants me."

Barf.

Dude, first of all, you are NOT all that and a bag of chips. Second, I'm not on the market at all. Third, even if I were I seriously doubt I'd be trying to make time with some guy with a Rogained noggin, a fake tan, and nothing better to do at 10:30am on a weekday morning than be hanging around the gym. Yes, this is incredibly sexist of me, but why the hell don't you have a job? Ooo, be still my heart! A preening, unemployed middle-aged peacock with a paunch and an ego the size of Jupiter. Somebody hold me back.

When it comes to the swaggering 50-something old farts at the gym I keep my cloaking device up and never, ever make eye contact if I can avoid it.

Speaking of weirdness from old dudes, FIL is really off the rails. It's nice that he's not abusing the waitresses anymore and being massively unpleasant as he used to, but yesterday at the diner I saw for myself how 'gone' he is. We were all eating and chatting away as we do and I watched FIL take all the jelly packets out of the holder in the middle of the table. He lined them up very neatly in front of his plate. He bent over them to read the labels and carefully sorted them by flavor. Then making dramatic reconnaissance looks over both shoulders to make sure he wasn't being watched (completely missing that I was watching this whole thing go down) he quickly stuffed the chosen jelly packets in his pockets. The few packets he didn't want were put back into the holder and FIL sat back with a pleased look on his face. Mission accomplished. The orange marmalade and strawberry jam were going home with him, by gum! And nobody was the wiser. Hoo, hoo, hoo! The Jam Super Spy wins another one.

Now I know for a fact that FIL doesn't even EAT jam. Or marmalade. Nor is stealing jam packets necessary, I've been in MIL's fridge often enough. She's got every kind of fruit spread known to man in there. FIL's just off in his own place nowadays. Stealing jam packets from diners is harmless enough, I am far more concerned about the future. What if he starts pocketing stuff from stores? Or from friends' houses? And what happens when his oddities go in other directions? What happens if he starts disrobing in public? Or making crank calls? Or decides to take a jaunt in the car on his own?

Oy, we're in for it now. I know MIL will never put him in a home, never, no matter how bad he gets. And should he take to wandering or playing with the stove she'll be chained to him by the ankle. No more gym. No more hikes in the woods on her own. No more doing yard work even, not unless she's got him right next to her so she can watch him.

I'm not being an alarmist, I've seen this particular dynamic before with my own step-grandparents when I was a teenager. In that case it was the other way around and Grandpa was the one who had to deal with Grandma's ever worsening dementia. And near the end Grandpa was none too on the beam himself. The two of them ended up filthy, underfed and lost to reason. We finally were able to get the state to step in, but with Grandma put in the county infirmary Grandpa keened and mourned so deeply that he died of a broken heart not three weeks after Grandma had simply wandered away for good in her sleep.

Tell me again why living some mondo healthy lifestyle so I can live to be a 100 is such a great thing?


Sad and worried, ~LA

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