Monday, August 15, 2016

Notes from visits with Starbuck's elderly friends

Starbuckeroo and I are making our rounds through the elderly care facilities that we visit. Quite a few elderly folks have difficulties communicating, and we have to judge cautiously whether they would like a visit from Starbuck or not. A lot LOVE dogs and are sad to see her walk by without a visit. A few HATE dogs, and we need to steer clear. So I try to judge from faces.

I am delighted to round a corner and hear a voice come up the hall, "Hello BAYBEE PUPPY!!! Come here BABYBEE moo-moo-boo-boo and give me a kissy!" Starbuck complies. Her lack of general dignity serves her well in this circumstance. The lady maneuvers her wheelchair so she can bend over and put her nose against Starbuck's. Starbuck politely kisses her face. "Awwwwwwww it's a bay-bee puppee moo-moo-boo-boo-kissy-kissy puppeeeeeeeee!" And I had been concerned that Starbuck's wolf-like appearance would make her job more difficult! It turns out that her desperate need to dispense love is evident to strangers, even at a glance.

There is LOVE in them paws.

This lady and I fall to chatting as she holds Starbuck's head in her lap.

"Where are you from?" she says. I know what she is asking, but I make people dig a bit.

San Francisco

"Oh!" Pause. "Your eyes look different from most people's! Like this!" and she proceeds to pull back her eyes a bit, that way that my second grade classmates used to do, mocking, "Chinese eyes!" But she's not mocking; she's making a straightforward observation.

I'm Chinese.

"Oh!" Another pause. "But I can understand you perfectly!"

Well... I guess you are fluent in Chinese!

"Oh! Maybe I am!" A longer pause. Then, gently, "Can you see okay out of those eyes?"

Yes! I've had them all my life!




rena said...

Oh my goodness.
But what's weird is that you could certainly pass for a native. I'm surprised she didn't think you were just Inuit?

mdr said...

Many country folks have never personally met Asians. Not many Hollywood movies about Asia either.

bt said...

I love this story. You are such a gem. Alaska is so lucky to have you (and this lady obviously knows it).