Friday, December 9, 2011

The Circle of Life

Today was a horror.
     Apart from the fact that I was forced to begin the school day only moments after observing the scene of an immensely traumatic car accident, something else occurred which really put a perspective on life and its notorious span.
     As some of you may know already, I am an avid oboe-player. The holidays during these times are always a time when musicians of all ages are called upon to use their abilities in the name of those less fortunate. My friend felt such a duty knighted upon herself, and I, attempting to perform at least one nice action during this frantic season, agreed to aid her. Playing oboe at a nursing home with two other musicians alongside. Sounds wonderful, yes?
     Well, not exactly.
Photo from
      I happened to play holiday tunes for the psych ward at a hospital last year, and after that (when the patients insisted on shaking my hand and demonstrated very diverse reactions to my music), it was to my assumption that I could find any setting could be found comfortable if effort is inserted. How wrong.
     Nothing prepared me for what met my eyes-a plethora of sickly individuals whose only lifelines were the nurses talking to them in sweet, Child-like voices. With each step there was more sheltering exposed, more evidence that said place was simply, and painfully, a waiting room. The moans here and there, the IV fluid abundant as grass, the lolling heads hardly mobile in their came to this? You live, you influence, and this is what you become? A child again?
    Last year, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald (yes, ladies and gents, the story whose movie adaptation included our oh-so-hunky friend, Brad Pitt) descended upon me in English class. How fascinating it was to read about the young taken care of by the old, and the older being taken by the younger. The circle is an essential aspect of the human experience, what with it being the most logical shape since it is truly an eternal cycle. We are born, we are petty in the eyes of those who run the world, we run the world, and we are petty once more-how many times have you dismissed the opinions of the elderly just because it came from an aged mind, a mind that couldn't possibly understand the conflicts of this twenty-first century?
    The people at this nursing home, it was more than a case of being considered petty. They were actually children, and they weren't even given a chance to make opinions because it seemed like all problems of the outside world were taboo. Now, am I saying that this is a horrible phenomenon for some immensely unstable individuals? No. But am I saying there may be a better way to do this than the aforementioned system? Yes. And for once, I'm not going to try and devise one. When it was my turn to play, I found myself unable, screwing up note after note and throbbing uncontrollably with discomfort; by the end, I had to sing each tune because of my fingers' failure. The oppression was insurmountable.
     This is not a call for protest
     This is a call for action.
    Would someone please take some?


  1. It is a shame. I know that this plan seems cruel at first, but read the whole thing, not just the first line.

    Let's place the elderly in prisions. They will get a shower a day, hot meals, video survlience in case of any problems, access to a gym, a library, and a tv, and it is paid for by taxpayers.
    The prisoners, on the other hand, should be locked up in nursing homes. They will get ignored, neglected, a small room, cold meals, a cold bath a week, and pay 4000 a month for it.
    Its a shame that the prisoners get better treatment then the elderly.

  2. Who is to say that protest isn't action?

  3. Well written.

    Some places are definitely nicer than others. This does not sound like one of those. I've had several elderly family members in and out of care, and it's a terrifying prospect, especially when you don't feel like you can do anything about it.

    I have no answers, but I sympathize with you and the folks who hopefully got some joy from your music.

  4. @Anonymous: That paragraph is immensely thought-provoking. And protest...well, I sometimes feel that protest is more of a precursor of action. Nobody ever achieved anything just because they protested, except maybe getting themselves thrown in jail.

    @Kate: Thank you, and I agree-not feeling like you can affect those you love anymore is horrifying.

    (And yes, world, I'm going to start replying to comments on my original posts now! YIPPEEE!)

  5. Perhaps this calls for pulling an Upton Sinclair. (for those of you who dont know, Upton Sinclair is the author of The Jungle, which if I remember correctly revealed all the horrors of the meatpacking industry. I think that's what my social studies teacher said...i haven't read the book myself because i get grossed out easily, but this comment isnt really about the book.) Anyone with internet access and a mind that reality tv hasnt turned into mush can do this. If a bunch of people write something revealing everything wrong with the system and saying what the system could be and should be, it can be. Just write it and post on facebook, twitter, tumblr, figment, a blog, your rooftop right before they take the google eartg pocture, etc. Once word gets out the government will be so embarassed they will have to make reforms. Is this crazy? Yes, extremly. But the normal ideas never catch on. Will it work? The only way to find out is to try.
    Is anybody with me?

  6. Wow; you've hit on something close to my heart. I'm often talking about running a house like the one Benjamin grows young in. People's reaction to that idea most of the time is "Oh you could never get the health code," "How would you deal with cleaning them?" "You couldn't do it alone". I am going to do it, I will help, in a small way that greatly affects the lives of those who I come in contact with.

  7. You do whatever your heart desires, Jfeldt! And what a noble cause, too....the elderly are truly one of our greatest resources. Without them, how do we know the past, and therefore the future?


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