Time: 11 p.m., toward the end of a long and exhausting day. Place: A nursing home in Smalltown, U.S.A. A nurse has given my mother a dose of Ativan to help her sleep. She mumbles a sentence repeatedly but unintelligibly.
HE Mom, I’m sorry, but I just don’t understand you.
MOTHER (very clearly and emphatically) YES, YOU DO.
SHE (teasingly) He’s pretending not to understand you. Smack him up the side of the head.
MOTHER I would, if I could get my hand loose.
Laughter, followed by relief.