Once upon a year or so, I lived in the country. My city friends chortled at the idea and my new neighbours and acquaintences always seemed amused by me and my *city ways*. Left to my own devices in the Country, likely I would starve to death unless there was a grocery store within walking distance. Camping and tenting gets the same enthusiastic yawn from me. No thanks. Send my bags on to the nearest Hotel.
When my travels take me to certain Postal Codes, I have to do deep breathing as I drive into the hinterland. Deep deep breaths, in..... out...... in..... out.....
There is one particular postal code that seems to have a lock on colourful folk. An iron-clad lock with a Chinese puzzlebox around it. Yesterday I was off out and about to that very place. Trepidaciously, I searched for the address. Right road.... right side on road..... no driveway.
It was reachable only from the next street down a little trail marked with a miniature sign stating the address. The trail was overgrown as was the grass surrounding the house. Oh, the house. It was faded clapboard and has grimy windows. Just as an added bonus I had to enter past a cat litterbox with a few very fragrant items in it. A cat, a big black fat cat. Alas, my allergies kicked in immediatly and my little blue puffer made it's first appearance.
My client was sitting at her kitchen table. The table was surrounded by boxes and magazines and letters, cards, shiny things, more shiny things, and yet more shiny things. The window ledges were littered 1/2 inch deep with the corpses of flies, and other things. Mice droppings were evident. Cobwebs everywhere. And at the table sitting straight backed like a Queen was my client. Her hair was most definitly unwashed and her clothes were stained. She had her own teeth and she was mid-bite of some toast with cheese. She declined my offer of a plate.
"Did they tell you how old I am?"
No, they did not but thanks to the new fancy dancy labels the client birthdate is on everything.
I looked at her expectant face and said:
"According to this book here you are about to turn 97! Congratulations!"
She was delighted to be talking to someone who applauded her decision to live in her own home.
I also noticed a faded diploma hanging above the fridge. This woman was a Public health nurse.
When I asked her where she had Nursed she told me she was in charge of a REGION.
I had to smile. It is unlikely this woman realises how much filth surrounds her but it is equally unlikely anyone can tackle her decades of collections with her consent. The best to hope for would be a friend taking her away for a day or 5 and a cleaning service coming in to clean.
I can also tell you with complete conviction that it will never happen.
That woman will either die in her sleep in her home, living the way she chooses, OR:
she will fall and break something and live out her days in extended care somewhere.
Either way, not bad for 97. Hygeiene aside of course..