My Old Lady

I was ambushed by a hobbit this morning. Not literally, of course. It pleases me to refer to short people as hobbits, in much the same way as it pleases me to see a midget run. It warms my heart. There is no greater pleasure in this life than watching a midget run. I highly recommend you find one and chase them today. You will thank me.

This particular hobbit, was a little old lady who drifted out of a doctors surgery, peering at me through surprisingly fabulous glasses.

“I’m sorry darling,” she began in a lilting Irish brogue, clutching my arm. “But my blood pressure is playing up. I was wondering if you could help me across the road. I feel awfully dizzy…”

I’m not sure if it was the charming accent, the promise of inflating my ego momentarily by doing something fantastically benevolent, or the fact that I’m not a cunt. (Sorry if that word bothers you, I sit on one, see, so I have no problems using it.) Maybe it was my iPod shuffling to The Rip at that exact moment, a song that always makes me agreeably mellow. Whatever it was, I agreed.

On a side note, this is not the first time I have been ambushed by an old lady in Glebe. The last one was accompanied by a frightened looking Maltese terrier trapped in a stroller. I was having coffee with a friend and she approached us, telling us that she was homeless and wanted $5.35. Exactly $5.35. I should add that this woman didn’t ask politely as much as she stood over us like Chopper Reed and demanded the money. She didn’t exactly look homeless either, homeless people usually aren’t well dressed, clean and a bit fat. Such is my experience, anyway. When we told her that we didn’t have any money- which we genuinely didn’t- she stared at us stonily for about a minute. A minutes worth of awkward silence that I wanted to fill by hurriedly explaining that we had been out drinking the previous night, and all of my money had disappeared into the bottom of the cute bartenders tip glass in a desperate and transparent cry for attention. Suffice it to say this woman then told us off, demanded a cigarette, and told us that it would be her last one before she killed herself. “Righto love,” I replied, proffering my pack. “Just do it over there, okay?” Later on, my friend would describe a letter he saw in the MX paper: To anyone who saw me scream at the old bag with the dog in the pram in front of the 7-11 on Thursday, I’m sorry. But I’m sick of supporting her habits.

But, back to my amazing story.

I lead her across the road, planning to deposit her neatly on the bench that lay before us. Fabulous glasses lady kept walking. I was perplexed. She explained that her flat was just over behind the school, and if I wouldn’t mind walking her there…because she still felt…so…dizzy.

Now, I don’t want to be responsible for the shattering of an old ladies hip, at least not before breakfast. I agreed to walk her and, with her still clutching my arm like a baby bird, we trekked to her flat.

On the way she told me her life story, as old ladies often do. I love it. I can’t wait until I’m old and I can scare the youth with the ridiculous bullshit I post on this blog. “Acid and angry sex, with a bit of shameless flirting, and a good measure of insolence all encased in drunken disorderly conduct. That’s how you live your life, darling. A heady mix of bad boys, balls and beer. It’s the only way…”

This ladies’ life story was decidedly more chaste. She told me about her husband, the only man she had ever been with, cheating on her (bastard). Her daughter, who is engaged to a charming Scottish fellow…well, glasses lady thinks he’s charming, she can’t really understand a word he is saying. The emergency hysterectomy. The perforated eardrum. The palace in Lane Cove that was replaced by a small flat in a baffling suburb that sells vegan dog food. Who would buy vegan dog food anyway? Her little Madeline loved her chicken necks… The Peugeot that just wouldn’t start. The seafood allergy. The nosy neighbour. The three young sons: lawyer, journalist and part owner of the Enmore theatre. Before I could hopefully ask if any of these successful Irish lads were single, we had reached her flat.

I gaily waved off her offer to buy me my morning coffee. We hugged, braided each others hair, painted each others toenails, had a brief chat about Alexander Skarsgard’s abdominals, and I left.

The troubling thing is how suspicious and utterly…Sydney I have become- something that has only occurred to me in retrospect. My knee jerk reaction as she initially clasped my arm was to grab my bag. As we walked, I found myself wondering if she was going to push me over and beat me to death with my iPad- perhaps a fitting end for this rancid Apple tramp. When we reached her flat and slowly ascended the staircase, I wondered if she was the bait that led young, slightly reckless, inner city women to the rape dungeon. Never mind that I could probably bench press this woman if I tried, I’d be lying if I said these thoughts never crossed my mind. I am aware that writing the above makes me sound paranoid, neurotic, delusional, and wary of the world in general- something which I’m not. Well, my therapist and I are working on it, anyway. I’m better now, the serpents only crawl down the wall towards me every other day. Ironically, as I wrote that sentence a man stumbled past me singing Insane in the Membrane. True story.

But, I had better wrap this post up, I’ve run out of similes, my coffee is cold, and the homeless men are descending on me, bludging my cigarettes. If they aren’t just a hallucination, anyway.

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