Friday, November 04, 2011
Mr. Chu is the stuff of Wanted posters. A desperado. A one-man crime wave on wheels. He whips around the nursing home all day long, in and out of rooms, stealing things from other residents while paddling his wheelchair with one foot. Since Flip spends all his time walking back and forth in the hall, his room is easy pickings. To date, Mr. Chu has taken his eyeglasses, his prescription Ray Ban sunglasses (multiple times,) his CD boom box, which now has a broken antenna and barely works, at least five times a day, his portable CD player, 15 or 20 CDs, various items of clothing, some of them never worn and never found again, strangely, a book of photos of Los Angeles taken from the air, his toiletry kit (countless times,) his shoes, sneakers and Crocs, and various treats I have brought him which were stationed on his bedside table.
Some of the doorways now have thick metal bars across them, near the top, since Mr. Chu's wheelchair has two long poles attached to it. Unfortunately, this won't work in Flip's room as Flip is over 6'3" and wouldn't be able to get in and out without hitting his head. Yesterday, several staff members ambushed Mr. Chu and removed a veritable Santa's toy sack from behind him, all of which they had to return to a dozen or more people who were missing items. It was a good day for small gains, until the market tanked.
Today I saw him maneuver his chair into a room with barred doorway and then flounder, unable to wheel himself out again. It was oddly satisfying. I have never had the slightest desire to hunt or trap animals, but it suggested a predator caught in a bear trap. I even related to the hunter's elation for the first time, briefly. Later, one of the aides brought back the bottom of Flip's CD boom box on which I had written his name in black marker, clearly a trophy since it serves no purpose without the rest of the unit. I wonder if he was a cat burglar before he was in a wheelchair. Or maybe a politician. Habits never die. Perhaps the wheelchair is just a ruse and he can run like the wind.
It would be romantic to think of Mr. Chu as a tropical tradewind, but he never gives anyone anything. He only takes, and acts defiant when confronted with his purloined booty. I assume he can't help it, but it's getting old. I wish he would find another way to entertain himself. Still, it's endlessly fascinating to observe the many forms of wackiness that afflict people. I wonder what I'll be like in a few years.