I am currently on the third day of my summer 2013 cross-country adventure, or as I like to refer to it “the summer of George.” I first flew from Columbus, Ohio to Tulsa, Oklahoma (yes, Tulsa, just like Chandler did that one time when he started smoking again), where I forced myself to interact with the strangers I was so fatefully assigned to sit next to in hopes to sooth my outlandish nerves about being on a plane. The first man I met was noteworthy but not enough for me to write about JUST yet. The woman I sat next to on my second flight was incredible. Her name was Beverly, she must’ve been right around 70 years old and she was so sweet. I don’t know what it is about me and elderly strangers but I find it so compelling to be there for them. As if this person couldn’t survive their daily life without my assistance. She mentioned to me she wasn’t sure if she would be able to catch a relaxi-cab at the late hour we were set to arrive in Tulsa. I immediately said I’d make sure she got home safely. I also found myself thinking I was there to protect her in case anything crazy should happen. I envisioned a crash landing onto a remote island (yes, an island located somewhere in the plains region of the United States) where I would protect her and start a colony with the remaining survivors. Eventually weird things would start happening on the island and new people would be introduced and then we’d start time traveling and getting terrible headaches and eye bleeding and wait that’s Lost.
Beverly told me she never had kids, her husband died several years ago and she didn’t have any pets, but that was okay because she has many friends and she attends conventions and concerts and all sorts of events. In fact, she had been in Canada for a convention (I was afraid to ask what type) all by herself last week. I hope she feels empowered, because I’ve seen many elderly people give up when they get to a certain point. Beverly brought a tiny bag of salted peanuts for her “dinner” on the 10:20pm flight and practically shoved half the bag down my throat. She reminded me a lot of my Grandma Betty, who was divorced and lived alone but was always having fun. I lost her at a young age and that affected me deeply. I think I just solved why I feel a pull toward the elderly population. Did I just become a licensed therapist?