“We get it. Folks have to pack a lot into a day,” says Jim Carraway, head of public outreach for the Old Geezer’s Alliance For Change (OG’s for short), and the man who has been directly charged with the difficult task of getting people to visit their elderly relatives before they cack it. “Between working, bitching at people on Twitter, finding a TV show your kids like so you can flip through Facebook as fast as your finger will move, ordering take-out, eating take-out, working out what take-out packaging is recyclable, and then remembering to do some online shopping for shit you don’t need; how are you possibly supposed to find the time to visit the people who both created you and threw you every single party you ever had up to the age of twenty-four?”
In an attempt to compete with the multitudes of time demands that keep many Canadians from getting around to saying hi to their only living link to the past more than once a leap year, the OG’s have come up with a simple if somewhat crass solution: drive-thru oldies visits.
“It’s feckin’ great,” says an elderly gentleman with an old-world manner, “First the kiddos blast a text to the home administrator to say they’re on their way. Then the orderlies load me on a cart and wheel me to a window. Directly thereafter, my lazy-ass, ungrateful progeny pull on up to wave, say hi, and show me shit on their phones, all from the comfort of their four- wheel chariot to a shallow level of hell. Sometimes they order a happy meal or two. Which I oblige – I keep junior burgers in stock for just such an event, and when I’m short on juice I often just swap my catheter bag in. Why the hell not? Gotta keep ’em sharp, these distracted young whipperschnitts these days.”
Carraway says he was inspired to help find a solution for the all-too-common modern malady of elderly neglect, when he himself changed phone numbers and forgot to pass his new one along to his aging parents. For nearly thirty years.
“By the time I got in touch they’d been dead since ’98. I was devastated. Dad always said I could have his watch, but no one knew where their personal effects had ended up.”
While public indignation against the drive-thrus has been strong, many see this simply as a practical step forward.
“I don’t get out of my car to get donuts,” says one man in a car in line to buy donuts. “So why would I get out of it to see the woman who bore me in her womb, kept me safe from a multitude of dangers, worked overtime so I could get within two credits of a college degree, and – despite my callous neglect of her abiding love – still yet longs to cradle me in her arms, letting the troubled years between us drop away without judgement like so many soiled diapers?”