What do you get when you chat with your grandparents, ages 88 and 81, one with a hearing aid that she never turns up and the other who only pays attention to what he wants to hear? Utter confusion, that's what.
A while back, I was visiting with my grands, sitting at the table listening to Grandma gossip about the family. She's really good at the gossip. This particular evening the topic was my brother, who's about to be 21 and in college. Grandma thinks that since he's been in college he's really changed. (Well, he has, but who doesn't?) He's gone from the scrawny boy with a head full of curls to a toned up dude with very short hair and muscles. He looks nice, actually. But grandma is suspicious. He must be hanging around with a bad crowd. Because he goes around with a weird hat on his head! (A beanie, the kids call it, we used to say stocking cap.) She can't figure out why he wants to go all over the place with that stupid cap on his head. Makes him look like a bum, she says.
Fast forward about thirty minutes and I'm sitting next to Grandaddy while Grandma fixes a sandwich in the kitchen. Grandaddy leans over and says to me quietly, "Don't say anything to your Grandma, but I'm really worried about your brother. I think he's on some kind of drugs!"
"But, Grandaddy, why in the world would you think that?" I ask.
"You heard your Grandma? Well, it's just ridiculous! I can't think of anything but drugs that would make a boy go around with a CAT on his head!"