On my way home from work this evening, in the distance I saw an old man acting very strangely. He was in one of those motorised scoooters, but was bent double to one side as his scooter slowly trundled along the pathway.
My first thought was that he had either A) fallen asleep, or B) had some sort of "Episode" and was unconcious and out of control. As he was heading towards the road, I thought I might have to run to his aid and stop the scooter before it rolled into the road - just like when you see police smash the window of a run away car before leaping in and taking control. Only much, much, slower.
Incidentally, why do we say that someone has an "Episode"? And the very first time they have one of these "Episodes", are they having a "Pilot"? Just wondering, that's all.
As I approached the old man on his scooter, I could see that he was in fact awake, and appeared to be looking for something. He had stopped and was so busy looking down at the pavement, that he hadn't noticed me. I said hello, and asked if he had lost something. He looked up, and I expected him to tell me that he had lost something of great value to him - his recently deceased wife's wedding ring perhaps, or a photo of his grandchildren that had fallen out of his pocket somewhere.
"Snail shells", he said to me with a smile on his wrinkly old face.
It turns out that he was looking for empty snail shells. It is a hobby of his, and he has a collection of over 100 different shells all from the surrounding area. Apparently he is having them put into a display case. At little surprised at this, I wished him luck in his search, and carried on home.
This meeting with this old man got me thinking - what hobby will I have when I am old and frail, and maybe living in a care home like that old man? I can't imagine what the world will be like when I am eighty or ninety years of age (assuming I make it that long), so maybe with advances in technology things will be very different. For all I know, science might have developed a way to view all your memories on a screen like a film, and people will just spend all day remembering things from the past.
I do hope that the old man I met didn't have his hobby because he was lonely, and had no-one visiting him. I think it would be terribly sad to live a lonely life.