Chance street conversations

An older man, late sixties, pushing a grocery cart filled with detritus, wearing thick glasses, missing a few teeth, shoddily dressed, stopped me.

“Excuse me, sir?”

I stopped. I thought he was going to ask me for change. I’m generous with my change.

“Yes?”

“Does women get Alzheimer’s?”

This question has been in the news. I heard the same story about it twice last night as I cycled through “All Things Considered.”

“Yes,” I said. “More than men. Two-thirds of people with Alzheimer’s are women. And they get our younger, and deteriorate faster,” I said. I learned this all last night.

“Wow!” he said. “I was just wondering, does women get Alzheimer’s!”

He looked at his stuff.

“Thanks, man!” he said, sounding truly grateful, and pushed his cart away.

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