Dear Blanche was wandering the FEC* halls again the other night. It's not like she does hall-walking the way Trevor does. Trevor is 90 going on 91 and can still do a credible soft-shoe routine, probably because he obsessively walks the halls and climbs all the stairs. Not just walking, you understand. This is a brisk pace self-designed to get his heart up to cardio snuff and keep it there for another birthday. We love Trevor because he is cheerful and whistles and does Fred Astaire impersonations. Not three days ago I saw him practising a little buck-and-wing on his way to the post office.
Hall-walking, you see, is similar to mall-walking, albeit without the mall.
Similar? Without the forced seniors' socializing; without blaring storefronts; without the eye-rolling of jostling crowds; without closing hours.
FEC halls are just the thing amidst urban density for a bit of personal exercise. Lest you think of bleak, barren, cold expanses, FEC halls have visual pleasures as well. After all, entertainers are us. One might slow the pace to savour some vintage posters, personal art work, eye-catching doors, and the odd anarchist statement. Photos of grandchildren and 3-D butterflies are popular. Of course it's not quite as entertaining as it was before the fearsome contretemps with the Fire Department that put a stop to many hallway decorating practices―a story worth another day.
Where was I? Well, dear unfortunate Blanche. Her hall-walking is of a different nature. She is not yet at the stage where next of kin have to be called in for an emergency removal. We know that, because Blanche is nothing like a hall-walking predecessor, the fragrant Lydia who once lived on the seventh floor. In those days it was not unusual to find Lydia in the depths of night on say the fourth floor or perhaps the lobby, wildly brandishing a wine bottle. Talking urgently, incoherently, to a poster on the wall. Or to the elevator buttons. Memorably minus her clothing. Luckily for us there were children slash relatives so the Inmates Committee did not have to intervene.
Where was I again? Yes, dear Blanche. A sweet soul, a little hard of hearing, quietly making her way along the winding corridors, merely seeking her wayward cat. Must be the third time this week she lost him.
We do have cats here. In my opinion it's nice to see they outnumber the dogs. The third floor—and possibly elsewhere not on my routine travels—holds a regular Cat Social Hour when several suite doors are opened and the feline occupants are free to mingle with their neighbours. Occasionally one of them decides screw this, let's head for the great outdoors. Or at least terrorize as many potted plants as we can along the way. So that requires a Cat Alert on the FEC intercom. Blanche being quite shy is not the type of person to make intercom requests.
Thing is, Blanche has not had a cat for the last three years.
Another feckless day in the life.
* Fading Entertainers' Centre (just say FEC)