Interviewing a character for a story.
|Author: I am interviewing you for a character in a story about an elderly woman at odds with her daughter after she places her in a nursing home.
Elderly Woman: That sounds perfect for me. I never can get along with my bossy daughter. And as for elderly…I guess 72 fits the bill.
Author: How do you feel about nursing homes?
Elderly Woman: I’ve never lived in one, but I don’t think I’d like it. They’re full of old, senile people who sit around watching television all day, aren’t they?
Author: How do you feel you’re different from them?
Elderly Woman: Well, I don’t sit around and I don’t need anyone to wait on me. I can take care of myself. And when I want to do something, I decide for myself whether to do it or not. You’ve always got somebody telling you what to do in a nursing home. This is my home, has been for fifty years, and I do as I please.
Author: What about companionship? Wouldn’t it be nice to have friends to talk to anytime you wanted?
Elderly Woman: I’ve got friends. My best friend lives right next door. All I have to do is ring her up on the phone. We talk all the time. And don’t let this out…my daughter wouldn’t like it…I may have a new “man” friend.
Author: Really? You’re still interested in that?
Elderly Woman: Well, I may be old but I’m not dead yet! And I can still catch a man’s eye. I think I look pretty good. At least that’s what they tell me.
Author: Who tells you?
Elderly Woman: This new friend of mine carried my groceries home for me the last time I went to the store. He has nothing but compliments on my appearance. Why he’d move right in with me if I said the word. And he’s a looker too. And not as old as I am.
Author: Why don’t you let him move in?
Elderly Woman: Are you kidding? My daughter would hit the ceiling, not that I care what she thinks. I know the difference between a compliment and flattery, and I’m pretty well fixed. I’d have to know somebody a long time before I’d make a decision like that.
Author: What happened to your husband?
Elderly Woman: He died of a heart attack three years ago. We did everything together. I still really miss him.
Author: What did he do for a living?
Elderly Woman: He was a builder. We built our home together. I worked right alongside him before we had our children. I was never afraid to get dirty, and I loved being outside. Why I work in my flower gardens now, everyday. It keeps me young.
Author: How many children do you have?
Elderly Woman: Two. Sandra would get mad if I told you how old she is, but David is 46. Michael, that was my husband, always said Sandra and I were too much alike and that’s why we were always at odds with each other. I never thought that was true at all. There’s no way I’m as bossy as she is. I don’t try to run everybody’s life, but I don’t mind giving advice if I think you need it. You, for instance, don’t you think you need to lose a little weight?
Author: You’re certainly outspoken, aren’t you?
Elderly Woman: I don’t think so. I just say things when they need to be said.
Author: Okay. Who made the first move with this new gentleman friend of yours?
Elderly Woman: Well, he did, of course. What do you take me for? Humph! If you must know, we both just happened to grab for the same cantaloupe at the market. Being the gentleman he is, he picked it up and handed it to me. Then I tried to insist that he take it, and one thing led to another ending up with him carrying my grocerties home for me. After all that, it was only polite that I ask him in for a cup of tea. We had a very nice chat over Earl Grey.
Author: And exactly what was his comment about your appearance?
Elderly Woman: He said he didn’t think such a lovely petite woman should be carrying such a heavy bag of groceries. There was nothing I could do but agree.
Author: What made you think he’d move in with you after just meeting him?
Elderly Woman: Well, he got a little fresh. I had to pretend Sandra lived with me and was asleep in her bedroom to get rid of him. He was making himself very comfortable, if you know what I mean.
Author: Don’t you think it was dangerous inviting a stranger into your home like that?
Elderly Woman: Didn’t I tell you I could take care of myself? See this pepper spray I have in my purse? And I’m not afraid to use it.
Author: Suppose something happened, you started losing your memory, maybe Alzheimers, would you stay in a nursing home then?
Elderly Woman: I’d have to be really bad off and not know anything. Why I have to be home to take care of Buddy. Did I tell you about Buddy? I’ve had him since he was just a blue-eyed baby kitten. No way I could stay in a nursing home. No way.
Author: Suppose something happened to Buddy. You know cats don’t live as long as we do.
Elderly Woman: I know that. I would really miss Buddy, but there are lots of cats at shelters that need adopting. Nobody’s going to put me in a nursing home if I have anything to say about it.
Author: Well, thank you for the interview. I have enjoyed listening to your perspective on different things. They fit in well with my story idea and have provided new input as well. You're hired...