Yesterday I was in a nursing home, formerly called asylums, to visit a relative. It is not the first time, but yesterday was when I was claimed by the events before him.
The place is functionally spotless. It is clean and the caretakers and caregivers are young, which may be due to the tendency not to employ over forty, but, well, they are young and smile continuously. They dress in white and show great patience accompanying the elderly in their slow pace by exercising or leading them to the dining room, hairdresser, singing practices or psychiatrist. The relatives are all from a previous generation, that is, children or nephews who is already about sixty years old. There are no kids, but there are more women than men. Jardiel Porcela said that “the only good thing about death are the widows” and the other ingenious Spanish, Ramon Gomez de la Serna said that “The Spaniard walks at the same time with his wife and his widow.” A little gloomy but it is explained by two reasons: the traditional age difference between husband and wife and the longer life expectancy of women. No marriages are seen as in the advertising photos of retirement plans.
Everything is in order in the world 1, the physical world of Popper. In world 3, that of institutions, it is also good, because our society has managed to establish institutions to welcome old age of great quality. But in world 2, that of human psychology, everything is strange. The lost glances, the absurd disputes over an armchair, the lost sentences incomprehensible. Obsessions, conspiracies that only reside in the mind of those who complain, also emerge. The faces show the placidity produced by the Orfidal. It is the panacea for anxiety, that monster that begins to show its claws at the fifty and does not release its prey, sometimes, until the death. Whispers, fortitude and also a deep sadness resigned to be already in the antechamber of death. On the ground floor a few voices cascades sing in a choir “Clavelitos” that shines the effects of a trip to the youth while the music lasts. Almost transparent skin sticks to the skull, but the smiles still transform the face when a happy memory breaks through a neural network full of voids that cause confusion before a face or a name. Who are you? Asks an old woman who seems to be his daughter. There is also the emergence of obscenity when the socially correct belts are released at the hands of senile dementia. It’s snack time and the parade of wheelchairs and steps hesitant begin.
The visitors, who already have their dose of “memento mori”, are thinking that in thirty years they will occupy those seats to watch TV without feeling. At the exit, to contradict me, two old ladies read with their faces glued to a book. One reads in silence, the other whispers poetry … and I leave the building, with a reservation made to come back.