"Alien Conspiracy" is an excerpt from the memoir, My 91 Year Old Pregnant Mother hilarious and tender musings from a daughter's years caring for her elderly parents with Alzheimer’s by Selden Smith
Now the heart has taken on the vestige of caring for its parents. The beating heart in my dad belongs to my mom; the beating heart in my mom belongs to my dad. My heart so unavailable has surprisingly found a home with my parents. Does this mean I’ll never date again and will end up the spinster sister? But wait, I just realized that I am already the spinster sister. I am too old to be anything else. My heart has taken on my parents’ frailties, their hopes and dreams lost amid the ruins of a long life in the midst of a home forged by obsessive collecting and storing in any drawer, closet or pocket anything that may have a use in the next one hundred years.
I carry their baggage to give them room to be old and uncluttered. It doesn’t work mind you, the WW II generation will carry every bit of baggage they have until they drop. Not a scrap is wasted. Every piece of paper, a napkin that becomes so thin you can see through it and every leftover is used until it sits on the plate quivering, begging to be thrown into the garbage because it is old and wants to be put to death. Toilet paper is used so sparingly by my parents you’d think it was gold from Fort Knox. The amount my mother allows herself in a day is simply embarrassing. She always complained that my sister and I would have to marry rich to keep ourselves in toilet paper.
My parents collect everything. Especially my father, his room is filled with thousands of books and at least two hundred of them are Bibles. There is only a small pathway through his room in which the ceiling is held up by bookcases. Actually, I’m almost sure there are no actual walls, just fortresses of bookcases, papers, pens, pencils, paperclips, dirty socks, which could be worn again, book bags and candy wrappers. It is a danger zone perpetuated by the grabbing handles of trillions of plastic bags, not to mention the half full Styrofoam cups.
When they travelled, my father always had to carry several bags full of books and a Styrofoam cup full of coffee, which he usually spilled down the front of his white pants and shirt. This used to send my mother’s blood pressure off the chart as she tried to control the mess that followed my normally impeccably dressed father everywhere until Alzheimer’s took over his gray matter. He also had macular degeneration and couldn’t see the mess on his clothing without the stream of different magnifying glasses that he pulled from his many bags. One had a light, one had a special magnifying circle and one the handle kept falling off of, until my mother duct taped it back together again.
You can never throw anything away, as soon as you do you will need it. The reality is, as much as I hate to say it, it’s true. There I said it, go ahead, and call me an old lady spinster winch.
But I do have a theory of the scientific sort about the elderly. Aliens are using our elderly to create a takeover of the world or at the very least the United States. The hoarding of brown bags, plastic bags, soiled napkins, over eight million Styrofoam cups, which are deceiving as they hide inside of one another procreating and filling the trunks of cars and every crevasse that has an open space. Any void that is susceptible to being filled with a wadded up plastic bag and Styrofoam is actually a conspiracy by aliens who are using the old ones to take over this planet.
One day, I opened the trunk of the silver Buick Le Sabre and plastic bags with minds of their own exploded out into the wind travelling on torn handles for legs. Then I knew for sure, a gong will sound throughout the landfills, the salt mines and the trunks of Le Sabres’ everywhere. Elderly driver’s trunks will pop open and the plastic bags will spring to life, Styrofoam cups will sing as they whistle through the wind and the planet will be over thrown by plastic bags and Styrofoam who are collectively awakened as the enslaved Le Sabres of the world unite amid the den of honking horns and watch helplessly as plastic and Styrofoam take control of the world.
Besides being the author of My 91 Year Old Pregnant Mother hilarious and tender musings from a daughter's years caring for her elderly parents with Alzheimer’s, Selden Smith is an actress, artist, filmmaker and breast-cancer survivor.