Friday, August 04, 2006

Not Seeing The Baby Panda

The heat has broken a little bit, so today Random Mum-in-law, Mr. Random and I decided to venture out to the National Zoo, to see the baby panda and to get a few souvenirs to take back with her for family and friends.

We started out a bit after 12 and went to the CafĂ© Deluxe for lunch on Wisconsin Ave, a bit past the National Cathedral. It was crowded, as it would be on a Friday afternoon, and it took us about 20 minutes to get a table. We had some lovely sandwiches for lunch – I had a grilled cheese with bacon and tomato, Mr. Random and his mom both had chicken with avocado spread. The restaurant was noisy, so I couldn’t hear much of what Mr. Random and his mom were talking about, but I made sure to smile and nod appreciable in between bites of my yummy sandwich and slender, crispy French fries. I was STARVING, and I had woken up with a most horrible headache, so I wasn’t really in the mood for walking around and making small talk, although I tried to be a sport as best I could.

Two interesting incidents happened during lunch. First, I sighted a low-level celebrity, Mark Plotkin – a DC political radio host – walking on the door. I alerted Mr. Random as discretely as I could (“Isn’t that Mark Plotkin over there?” I whispered . . .) and of course, Mr. Random craned his head back as subtle as a Mack truck to get a good look at him.

The other incident happened when I was left alone at the table when both Mr. Random and his mom went to the bathroom. I was casually looking out of the window, when I spied a small, white-haired, elderly lady curled up in a wheelchair coming out of the apartments next door. She seemed to be moving rather fast, and before I knew it (because I guess the sidewalk had a bit of an incline) she had crashed into the side of the silver SUV parked at the curb. Two seconds later, a woman came running out to grab the woman and her chair and push her away from the SUV and make sure she was OK. Meanwhile, I started laughing – but I felt bad about it, REALLY! – because I could not believe what I just happened to see . . . this poor little old lady, careening down the path right into a parked car, unable to stop – I guess she didn’t have the energy to put on the brakes – just like something out of a cartoon or Monty Python sketch. She seemed OK, but I guess her nurse wasn’t watching her too carefully, or things happened to fast to stop it. I am certainly going straight to Hell for laughing at that . . .

After lunch we drove over to the Zoo, which was not too far away. Mr. Random actually found a great parking spot on Connecticut Ave, a half block from the Zoo entrance, which was amazing, since we hardly ever find great spots like that.

Once in the park, we walked over to the Cheetahs, where we found one huddled in a far corner, under a tree, trying to bask in the shade. Then we strolled over to where the Pandas were.

There was a major line. A major line on the sun. A major line in the sun that wasn’t moving. A major line in the sun that wasn’t moving and that the Zoo person said that the wait would be about 40 minutes. Random Mum-in-law was already starting to wilt anyway, so we decided to come back later. So we went another couple of yards and then decided to go into the air conditioned gift shop. There, Random Mum-in-law bought a few souvenirs and then decided that we should probably go home. She really couldn’t take the walking or the heat. We had only been there about a half hour at this point, and she was quite disappointed that she didn’t get to see the pandas. We were more concerned about her health at this point and didn’t mind leaving quickly.

On the way out of the park, we had to stop several times for Random Mum-in-law to catch her breath and rest a bit. Luckily we had parked so close to the Zoo that Mr. Random didn’t have to go and get the car for us. We tried to put a happy face on the day, saying that at least she got to eat at a nice DC restaurant, see some neighborhoods that she normally wouldn’t see, and got to get some stuff to take back to the West Coast with her . . .

Now she is resting in the living room, still going outside every hour or so to smoke. Mr. Random and I don’t quite know what to do or say, but are very concerned about her health. She can only seem to walk a few yards before getting very fatigued. Even taking the humidity into account, we can tell that something isn’t quite right.

Has anyone had to confront a family member about their health? Should we just worry in silence? She seems to pooh pooh that anything major might be wrong with her – she just says that she is out of shape . . .

Tomorrow we are going to spend the day with my parents at their house . . . I hope that goes much better than today did . . .


justrose said...

i never know what to say to people about their health. it is a quandary and i don't think there's any right thing.

hang in there.

Virginia Gal said...

You laughed at the woman careening into the SUV? Shame shame, (no just kidding).

Yeah this heat has been brutal, no?

Good luck with the whole health thing, sometimes the only people who can get through to a person about their bad health habits, a doctor.