Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Real Life Notebook Couple

Since losing my businesses I've had to get a regular job to put food on the table. This is intended to be temporary until something takes off. Whether it's the website, studio work, writing or any combination of them. So until then I'm working in a restaurant in a casino. And with most of the clients being in their golden years (our small town's demographics),there are some stories to tell! I'll introduce you to some of my favorites.

The “Notebook” couple is a term I've coined to describe two older people who have been together longer than I've been alive. They were both teachers but now both being elderly, the wife has either dementia or Alzheimer's. She lives in a nursing home where he goes and picks her up nearly every day. Most of the days they come in, she's not “there” and seems to hate everyone. When I first started at the restaurant (hostessing) she would complain about every table I tried to sit them at,regardless of where the table was. She would always harass the servers as well.

One day when I tried to sit them at a table in a Filipino server's station, the wife says very loudly, “I DON'T LIKE CHINESE PEOPLE!! I DON''T LIKE CHINESE PEOPLE!!” Needless to say, the server was offended even though she understood that the lady was out of her mind. She explained her belief that people “like that” should not be allowed in public because they can't behave. I calmed her down and explained that this man doesn't know how much longer he has with his wife and wants to be able to take her out. We should only hope to someday find someone as devoted to us as he is to her.

Another time, a different hostess who is a bit healthy if you know what I mean, was seating them and the notebook lady says, “YOU'RE FAT!!! I DON'T LIKE YOU!! YOU'RE FAT!!” The other hostess wasn't the least bit affected by this but preferred not to seat them any more. We all laughed that uncomfortable laugh when an awkward situation occurs.

Soooo, one day I see them walking up to the counter and I decided to give the husband the silverware rolls and menus and said, “Tell you what sweetie, you pick where you want to sit. That way you can be happy.” It's been like that ever since and she hasn't complained once. Also in that time, they found a server with the sweetest voice and disposition. Not that the other servers are bad or anything, but the wife prefers her to any of the others. So they just take their silverware, and ask where MJ's station is. How cool is that?

Sometimes, as they're paying their bill, her pants will start slipping a little and need to be readjusted. Other times, like many people, she needs to visit the restroom after eating. She tells him while he's still digging in his wallet oblivious to the fact that there are other people around. “MY PANTS ARE FALLING DOWN!!” or “I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM!! I HAVE TO GO!!!”. He patiently tells her he's paying for their meal and offers an apologetic and weary smile. After paying for their meal, he'll see to her need. It is very clear that this man is tired. He lives in perpetual heartache knowing that the woman he has shared his entire adult life with barely knows who he is.

But one day, as they approached the circular marble counter known as our hostess station, she noticed my necklace. I was stunned. She mentioned she like it. I felt my necklace, thinking can this be? I thanked her and smiled probably a little too big. But I was happy that she came out of her world for just a moment! Today, she was “here”. I looked over at her husband and he too had a light in his eye. She was here and it was a good day. I told him some corny joke, he laughed out loud. When he laughed, she smiled and looked up at him all dreamy eyed and said, “You're funny....I like you you're funny”. He smiled big, relieved and thankful. I tried not to cry....I well up just writing this. The look on his face was happiness and pain at the same time...because we knew this was going to last only for a while.

The next time they came in, she showed me her gloves. I told her how pretty they were and SHE SMILED AT I've never seen her smile. They sat across the table from each other and were conversing like nothing was wrong. She kept looking at me and I would smile and wave hello.

Yesterday, I was on my way to run an errand in the casino and saw that they were walking into the restaurant. When I returned, the other hostess told me that the lady was asking for “the dark haired lady”.....she remembers me!! They were sitting at a booth visible from the hostess station this time and she wasn't eating the end of the meal, he had moved to the same side she was sitting on and spoon fed her. My heart sank. I fought the lump in my throat. By the time they cashed out, she just stared ahead. She said that he already paid for the meal, and he said that she's remembering another time. She only stared at the floor as he led her out.

She is his life. As daunting as it may be, he is utterly and absolutely devoted to her. Some of us look our whole lives to find someone who will stand by our sides literally till we die, and in exchange we will/would do the same. I'm guessing that there are many more stories like this, however actually seeing it in person and witnessing the real pain in someone's's almost surreal. She is a very very blessed woman to have found a love like that. And here the two of them living in real life what a great movie was made about....they ARE the “Notebook” people.

And as usual, I'm including some random beautiful images.

Namaste and God Bless....

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