I just got back from visiting my grandmother at her alternative nursing home. The managers set these unnecessarily harsh rules that they make sure all of their residents are well aware of, but after speaking to one of the aides there, I found out that they’re actually quite lenient with most of the offences, turning a blind eye to pretty much all infractions so that there is very little enforcement or punishment.
People, the royal we, like breaking rules. It gives us a rush, a burst of adrenaline that prolongs and promotes life. When you get to be of that older age, not too much gives you a real rush anymore. You’ve seen it all, your body is falling apart, the stupid kids have taken over, you get yelled at for saying things you’ve always said, and you wait patiently for the sweet release of death.
So at this facility, there’s a “strict” no smoking policy, according to the official handbook, but a number of hidden rooms that the residents know about, and a custodian hired as the secret cigarette vendor. The “nobody in your room after 9pm” one is obviously their favourite to eschew. Sometimes the thrill of getting caught is all that helps them enjoy the full extent of their jollies. “Gambling is off limits”, unless you hide behind a specific curtain where suddenly a makeshift casino has been established, and the venerables laugh and laugh about their sneakiness. Oh, how they laugh.
The owner, an eccentric trillionaire who found his riches under a salty log, encourages staff to behave prankishly, often staging scuffles, kerfuffles, and other related brouhahas. It gives their audience a little excitement, something to discuss over morning tea or afternoon bootlegged whiskey.
“Before you can break out of prison, you must realize you’re locked up.” [Editor’s note: Tupac?]
These elderlies break out daily, and they’re consistently gleeful in their flouting of infringing actions. The hiring of former Harlem Globetrotters referees guarantees they can live their remaining days free of consequence, but still full of mischief, the only remnant from their youth, now that the wall has fallen and the sun rises from the north.