Yesterday’s Lunch Conversation

Yesterday was one of those days when Kate didn’t remember my name or our relationship. As usual though, she was perfectly comfortable with me. I took her to the bathroom. She didn’t seem especially confused, but she didn’t want me to leave her. She always takes a lot of time in the bathroom. Yesterday she took even longer. During that time, she talked to me about what she was doing as she washed her hands, arms, and face. It was very much like what she does in bed at night when she pulls strands of her hair. She refers to it as “working.” She also tells me she is accomplishing a lot and wants me to watch her carefully. It seems she does this to let me know that there is a purpose to what she is doing. I was feeling a little impatient, but I successfully avoided her recognizing it. She went through three hand towels and four wash clothes before she was finished.

She was very talkative going to, during, and returning home from lunch yesterday. That was almost an hour and a half. This was very different from her normal behavior. The entire time I was fascinated by how much she talked and the content of her conversation.

It started when she used a word that I can’t remember right now and said, “I bet you didn’t think I even knew that.” I said, “I’m not surprised. I know you’re smart.” She said, “Yes, guys don’t think girls are smart, but they are. They’re just as smart as boys, some of them even smarter.”

She continued this line of thinking after we got to the restaurant, but the nature of the topic drifted away from the key theme. A good bit of the time I had trouble understanding what she was trying to tell me. It was as though she had taken some kind of drug that made her talkative, and she rambled from one thing to another. The common thread was her focus on the lives of boys and girls during their teenage years. She talked about the “prim and proper” girls who sought the attention of the boys by wearing the right clothes, staying slim, and worrying about their hair. My participation was that of facilitator. I asked a lot of questions for clarification and simply listened as she went from one thing to another. Understanding her was complicated somewhat by her shrinking vocabulary. She uses the word “thingies” a lot when she can’t think of the precise word she wants.

She talked so much that she ate more slowly than usual. We were running late to get home for the sitter. I sent her a text and told her to wait for us, and we would be home shortly. It was quite a conversation. Like so many things, I will never know what brought it on.