Don’t Worry About It?

At the symphony the other night, an old and not-very-mobile man was sitting a few rows in front of us. At some point, he decided he needed to leave. As he struggled back up the aisle, he suddenly exclaimed “Dammit!”

I glanced his way and my suspicion that his pants had just fallen was confirmed a couple of seconds later when he stage whispered to his wife, “I should have worn my belt.”

None of this was amusing or shocking to me. Not the pants falling, not the loud swearing, not the too loud remark to his wife. No, what got to me was his wife’s immediate response to the Dammit! and sudden grabbing of his pants.

As he struggled to maintain dignity and before he remarked about the belt, she muttered (also loudly enough to be heard), “Oh! Don’t worry about it!”

Don’t worry about it? Really? He’s a grown man in a public place and you don’t think he should worry about dropping his pants? Even placing aside issues of dignity, there are some practical considerations. He couldn’t get out of the chair without your help. He can’t walk up the aisle without you holding one arm while he leans against the wall with the other. He’s basically shuffling along the floor, unable to lift his feet high enough to step. And you don’t think he should worry about his pants suddenly puddling around his ankles? As if that won’t further hinder his progress?

Let’s try switching roles and see whether you can resist worrying about your pants falling down.

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6 thoughts on “Don’t Worry About It?

  1. That’s a sure sign of someone who either: is completely burnt out from being his caretaker and needs to admit it is time to get someone to help her
    OR
    She’s been unhappily married (and resentful) for so long that she’s kind of glad he dropped his pants in public.

    Either way, what a shame.

    • Very good points, although he didn’t completely drop his pants. He grabbed them in time. Which is what I found amusing about her comment. He is now afraid to walk without holding onto his pants but how can he walk while holding his pants?

      I should undoubtedly keep in mind that bystanders have certainly overheard me saying less than charitable things to my children in frustration so I should really cut her some slack. And I guess that while the tone of my post implies anger, I was really just amused at the remark.

      • I don’t mean it as a judgment on you; I’m just reminded of my own family. We had someone who was, by their late 90s, blind and almost completely deaf but one of the most stubborn and taciturn, demanding people you could ever hope to meet over her entire life. Being patient with her should have been a competition worthy of Olympic medals. She needed absolutley constant supervision but didnt want our assistance, ever. She moved into my mother’s house and my mother was her direct caretaker for nearly ten years. And sometimes my mother was, as you say, “less than charitable” in her attitude due to the extreme stress of the situation, but even that was sometimes rather funny if you were as familiar with the whole story as those of us in the immediate family were. It took my mom about a year and a half to regain her sense of humor after the funeral, but now mom can laugh, too.

        • You didn’t come across as judgmental to me. I just realized that my post’s tone came across this morning as I reread it as considerably more angry than the emotion I was actually feeling at the time, which was a certain amount of amusement.

  2. I think ‘Don’t worry about it’ is a bit of a go to response, although reading the above comment, I would tend to agree. On the other hand, what would the wife have done? Gone home for a belt? Found a string to keep his pants up? Just kind of considering the possibilities…

    • “Go to comment” – I bet you are right. Something that is said before one thinks about how silly it is. Which was really my reaction at the time, “What a silly thing to say to a man who’s about to lose his pants!”

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