The contents of the following narrative come from within the confines of my imagination; no elderly people were harmed in the process.
“I get it, the drought’s over.” I donned my “leopard yellow” – it was really more of a canary yellow, if you ask me – North Face raincoat and stepped outside in some old, oversized, navy-blue Crocs. Yes, they were the ones with the holes on top, but I figured the odds of the raindrops falling precisely into those little perforations were even (thanks, Olan), so I confidently stepped out in them. Stuffing the aging ‘U S A # 1’ lanyard into my right pocket, I thought about what kind of mail would be waiting for me in the cluster mailbox unit. Bills and credit card pre-approvals, most likely.
Having gotten used to the black, non-slip Crocs I wear at Heritage Cafe, I realized that not all Crocs were made equal in regards to slip resistance. Some panels of sidewalk were gritty enough to provide the traction that my clogs lacked, but other panels were waiting to put me on a gag reel. I tread on a red carpet of fallen leaves, resigned to the fact that the only signs of fall were to be found during a Californian winter. This slippery sidewalk is going to be a sign of fall too, if I’m not careful.
After looping around the gated swimming pool in the center of the housing community, I began to hear a faint hum, like the buzz bees make behind you when you’re running as far from your mistake as possible. That’s odd – what would bees be doing out in this rain, and where are they so I don’t scream when I see too many of them? As I carefully rounded the corner bush facing the entrance to the swimming pool, the source of the low commotion hit me like a train. The elderly were strewn about the rest of the way to the mailboxes, moaning in soggy unison as their old age coupled with the ruthlessly slick rectangles of concrete mingled in a momentous occasion. There wasn’t enough Life Alert in the world to help all of my elderly neighbors as they lay dripping, groaning. What am I gonna do? How long had they been laying here, felled by the long overdue precipitation? The scene was too much for me, so I plod on, taking care to step in the patches in between cardigans and knit sweaters, reaching my destination after what seemed like a mile of meek footwork. I got the mail – sure enough, it was bills and credit card pre-approvals – and headed home, wondering what it would be like if some of my elderly neighbors were to slip and fall out here in the drifting rain.