I went to the Medical Lab this morning for a test. While I was waiting a man brought in his very elderly mother. He had thoughtfully picked up a wheel chair at the hospital entrance as these institutions are extremely large. Again, he thoughtfully picked out a place at the end of a row of chairs to park her wheel chair. This waiting room has a combination of chairs and tables which are the same height and color scheme . The little tables are convenient for people to put their stuff on while they're waiting.
The little old lady was parked beside one of the tables. Her son had to sit on a chair on the other side of the table. The lady decided that she wanted her son to sit beside her. The son told her that he couldn't sit beside her as there was a table between them. She completely ignored this information. She wouldn't give up and kept bickering. She got up and before the son could react , parked herself on the table. Once she was sitting on the table he couldn't persuade her that it wasn't a chair but a table and she wasn't supposed to sit on the table. He also had some concern for her safety. Finally, he persuaded his mother to get back in the wheel chair and he sat on the table. Now the son was extremely large so he had to be very careful or the table would collapse.
By this time everybody in the waiting room was aware of the situation and couldn't help but be amused. The son was someone who dealt with his mother's behavior in a very unruffled manner. He was very aware of the audience he had. He knew the value of not treating the irrational with the rational. His mother must have been an English teacher as she constantly corrected his grammar. She was still right on with her grammar.
So I thought for a second...this could be me some day! So you see I saw the future.
On another level I had to admire the way the son handled the situation. He was in some control of a chaotic situation. This lady was obviously a very bright person and she still had some of her mind but other parts of it were completely missing.
It reminded me of the last visit I had with my Dad. I went to his nursing home and found him sound asleep at the breakfast table. He wakened when I talked to him. He was an old farmer. He said that he wanted to stop and have dinner but he couldn't find the barn to put his horses in. I tried to distract him so that he would be in the present moment so I could visit with him. I told him I knew where the barn was and I would put the horses away. Don't worry. This didn't work. I took him on a tour of the nursing home. He still fretted about his horses.
Finally I gave up. I stayed until lunch time.
I've thought many times about how to deal with the irrational. What would I do today? I would ask him the names of his horses. I would ask him which field he was working in. I would ask him if he was sowing a crop or cultivating the soil? I don't know if this would work, but I would have been on his topic. The little old lady and Dad would not let go of their ideas. It's difficult to understand their persistence in holding on to an idea. Irrationality is hard to deal with.