I had a few days to catch up, and then a change of pace with a visit from my parents. We went to visit one of their friends who lost his wife while they were gone, and was in a nursing home. I mentally contemplated the challenges of caring for someone in his condition – good company, mentally he was up-to-date on current events such as the historic handshake in Ireland, and the recent ruling by the Supreme Court on health care. He was quite thin and frail, however, needing a wheelchair and/or walker. Because of a transient ischemic attack, the use of his hand was compromised, and he could not use a computer anymore.
I had tried to get my computer programs to work for my parents, thinking that the programs would help to improve their memory, but this was just endless frustration for everyone. The nursing home did not have a computer, and I wondered at the isolation that people must experience there. With the nursing home visit, it became apparent to me, that programs for older people would have to be designed differently. More oral (with all of the hearing problems associated with them), larger writing, and with assistive technology, and probably classified as some kind of “therapy” that they would perceive as boot camp. They would not voluntarily learn to interact with a computer in a different way, or using a different operating system from one they were used to.
My heart reached out to this man who yet struggled to articulate the grief that he felt with the loss of his life-long companion. The strongest moment of joy in the conversation occurred when we talked about his daughter’s dog. She was always happy to see him.
Later, we went to see the movie “Moonrise Kingdom”, together. Although the movie has some pretty heavy star power behind it with Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Harvey Keitel, Edward Norton, I don’t see the acting as the strong suit in the movie. The movie is in a surreal genre – with deliberately exaggerated moments and obviously thought-provoking juxtapositions, and yet it flows easily with the story line that has adventure survival tips, ideas about the construction of symphonies, and natural history. The setting is almost 50 years ago, and this has historic interest in many of the relics that are used from the past. The story-line, full of adventure, is about a 12 year old orphan child who has problems integrating socially, but throughout the story gets to experience almost the dream of an adult man’s life and self-realization because of the absence of parents. In the end, he is rescued from institutionalization by a scout pack that, in a dramatic moment of social enlightenment, goes AWOL to save him from CPS, electroschock therapy and brain biopsies. There is a deus ex-machina moment on a lighthouse tower, that probably summarizes the foster child dilemma. The movie is complimented by a pretty dramatic para-military soundtrack. The strength of the movie is in its art and genre.