My mother is supposed to take a special vitamin combination for her eyes — Vision Vite — that one of the drugstores around here sells under their own label. But the store near us rarely has it in stock and you can’t get on line — and I’ve spent more time than I care to remember looking for it.
Recently she needed more, and while in different parts the city I found some tucked away in various stores. I bought eight bottles in all. She was angry. “I’m not going to live that long” etc. She doesn’t care if she takes up a lot of my time looking for it when it’s used up, but she can’t stand the idea of keeping any extra around, even though she has plenty of storage space. She grudgingly accepted three of the bottles — six months’ worth — but insisted that I return the other five.
I’ll spare you narrative of all our dealings on this, but this morning I opened all the bottles when she wasn’t looking and combined them back into three, which I returned to her storage space. I refunded her the cost of the five bottles that I had supposedly returned. With luck she won’t notice that the others are open or overfull.
If I can really organize myself, I will try adding seven pills every week to the bottle she now has open. I suspect few of us would notice if a bottle did not run out over the long term. This calls for setting a calendar alarm and extra attention to detail.
Her feet have changed shape over the years, and she now has a lot of trouble getting shoes that fit her. I finally ordered several pair for her to try from an on-line company, one of those that let you return what you don’t like at their expense. There is one pair she really likes but only the right shoe fits correctly — the left shoe is too tight on her. So I have surreptitiously ordered the next size up in that style and color. When they come, I’ll give her the left shoe from the larger pair and the right shoe from the original pair. I’ll give the unmatched new shoes to the thrift shop and absorb the cost myself. Otherwise she will have no shoes, and whatever the cost she must have shoes. She would never agree to do this herself, but the result would be as it has been for several years — that she doesn’t have any shoes she can wear. She has been going around outside in an old pair of slippers for two years, and she can hardly walk in them.
“A man who has no shoes is a fool.” — Mordo Nahum, quoted in Primo Levi’s The Reawakening. That goes double for the children of parents without shoes.