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WARD'S WORLD: Mr and Mrs Elderly

While we are slowly coming out of Lockdown: Three in the coronavirus saga, some of its restrictions still linger on in one form or another but the shopping bit seems to be slowly getting back to its old self, although to be honest it seems so long ago now that I can’t remember how it was before.

The one thing that still rankles me, plus others judging by comments heard, is the mask wearing malarkey that is the biggest frustration as not everybody is thrilled to be wandering about looking like a surgeon ready for their next big operation to get stuck into.

Possibly the biggest thrill I get these days is wandering about and seeing banks, ones that are still there plus open for business, having signs on their doors advising that everybody entering must wear a mask.

John Ward (46685964)
John Ward (46685964)

My, how times change as before the pandemic if you did so, you would be guaranteed a free ride in a police car to the local nick or at least a police station that was still open for business to explain your actions.

Long time friend Merv’s idea of evolution is when you see or hear of a trendy wine bar being closed down to be turned into a bank, ditto burger vans being converted into ambulances.

One thing that has not changed are the folk deeply engrossed into their hand-held mobile devices, wandering about in a trance with a very active thumb swivelling or swiping all over the screen as they learn about the world – or their version of it – as possible warnings of zombies taking over the planet are commonplace due to their being on social media.

It’s one of these ‘swipe creatures’ that provided the following ‘look at life’ as the old cinema newsreels used to proclaim but those newsreels were filmed or provided by the (then) Rank organisation for their chain of Odeon cameras some decades ago now.

That was the educational supplement – another time we will be discussing why milk can turn into cheese followed by why lorries turn into side streets.

Back to the swipe creatures and my encounter with one recently.

I was in a store and I could see in front of me two elderly folk, both with a walking stick each, doing their shopping as one carried the shopping basket as Mrs Elderly got the items off the shelf to put into said basket as carried by Mr Elderly.

Getting to the end of the aisle, one of the ‘swipe creatures’ came round the corner with eyes focused on his hand-held device but oblivious to the real world as he nearly knocked them both flying, with Mr Elderly muttering ‘uncouth idiot’ after the swiper.

However, it’s fair to say he was so wrapped up in his almighty device he didn’t notice them anyway.

I could see these two folk were quite shaken by this encounter but as I was walking a few steps behind them as I got near I spoke to them to basically ‘calm the waters’ so to speak.

I mentioned that I could see by the way they both did ‘synchronised walking stick waving’ that they were going to take part in the new telly series ‘Celebrity Walking Stick Waggling’ to which, bless ’em, they stood and laughed.

At this point I had not told them which conveyor belt-made presenter was hosting it, so full marks there for their not asking.

However, despite the masks, which obviously can be very weird when talking to a person behind a face covering plus being a total stranger, we just stood and chatted about the current state of the world.

We also went as far as discussing idiots not looking where they were going due to being controlled by their hand-held devices but I could think of other stronger terms...

I did raise the point that most of these individuals are basically living by the minute with no real thoughts possibly for the future, or theirs to be precise, as they stand a fifty-fifty chance of being elderly as well but sadly we won’t be about when it finally hits them.

I eventually left them to it as all seemed well after their unexpected encounter as I carried on getting my bits and bobs before going back to the car to go home.

I had just put the said bits in the car as I was about to drive off when a lady came across to me and pointed, but I did know the people across the way, in another parking bay, sitting in the back of a car – or hers to be precise as I was to find out.

I looked over to see it was Mr and Mrs Elderly no less, waving like schoolchildren, in our general direction as I said I had met them briefly in so and so’s store across the way but was there a problem as it crossed my mind about the antics of the ‘swipe creature’.

No problems it seems but she just wanted to say thanks as they had not stopped talking about the encounter or I had spoken to them as they were ‘thrilled’ (?) that I had stopped to talk to them as they are in their eighties but in the past year hardly ventured out due to the virus warnings etc.

I was now apparently speaking to their daughter who was also their ‘chief runner-around and repeat medical prescription getter’ she informed me to give her ‘job title’ but it wasn’t – or rather they weren’t – a problem.

The reason she came over was to thank me (!) as not many people, unless friends, hardly spoke to them as now with the masks they were now finding they were of an age that also amounted to them being ‘invisible people’ which I must admit I did find sad.

I explained it was just common, basic politeness on my part plus I could see they were slightly shaken up by the experience caused by an ignorant moron hence just stopping to natter to them, no more, no less, nothing special .

Next she said she wanted to give me a ‘big hug’ but I pointed out that due to current restrictions in place, this is not allowed but she could give me a ‘credit note’ for one later (!) but I did say her arms perhaps wouldn’t reach round me anyway.

Next up was she felt sure she ‘knew/recognized me from somewhere’ but I explained I’m not there any more, although since having my hair cut/styled recently after a few months growth I now part my hair on the left hand side which might explain it.

While all this was going on I could see out the corner of my eye that two elderly people, Mr and Mrs Elderly to be precise, are still waving away in the back of her car which made me wonder if they had plans on adopting me, all things considered.

Anyway, we parted with a bump of our elbows – I didn’t mention the credit note for the ‘big hug’ in fairness – as we all drove off, with two elderly people still waving away at me like two children being let loose in a toy factory.

Whoever said ‘it’s the simple things in life that matter’ perhaps got it right.

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