I apologize for the fact that I’m late in delivering this new post. That is, if anyone even noticed that I’m a few days past my deadline. Five to be exact, if you happen to mark your calendar. Which I highly doubt. But that’s okay. I don’t mind my usual timeliness being taken for granted.
In case you’re interested, I do have a good excuse. No, it’s not the dog ate my homework, or in this case, my essay. It’s better than that.
One week ago I had an encounter with an orthopedic surgeon. And while I was under, and totally helpless, he performed a total replacement of my left shoulder.
Greetings from the high seas! My darling and I are about to embark on our very first cruise. According to our sea-going friends, we’ve waited much too long to indulge in this wonderful way to travel and see the world. Since we’ve always enjoyed exploring new places on land, we had postponed cruising until we were “older.” I haven’t checked our birth certificates recently, but I’m pretty sure we’ve reached that milestone.
Because I’ve abandoned my keyboard for two weeks, I’m reposting a seasonal essay from last year that some of you may recall. And I’ll be back before the end of June with something new, and in plenty of time to fully enjoy the perils of summer!
I’m here to state that, in my opinion, dawdling has gotten a bad rap. Look up the word in the dictionary and here’s what you’ll find: Daw.dle: vi Move slowly, take one’s time; waste time; idle; linger; take more time than necessary; to spend time without haste or purpose.
On any given day, there are countless reminders that I am an old person. Not least of which is the pain in my lower back when I uncurl my body from the driver’s seat of my car. There is also the fact that I now prefer to sit when putting on my panties, for fear that this will be the morning when my balance will fail me as I stand on one leg in order to insert the other leg into the proper hole.
When I ask for a senior ticket on the commuter train the conductor no longer questions my veracity. And did I know that Drake had a No. 1 single hit on the Billboard chart? So did Pink. And what was I doing when pop stars began economizing on names?
I’ve gotten somewhat used to the little age memos that life sends me on a daily basis. But every once in a while, I’m startled by the totally unexpected. Like checking into a hotel room and having the sensation that I’ve entered another galaxy.
Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of nostalgia. My capacity for fondly recounting the good old days is about half a cup. Sure, I have pleasant memories of growing up in the 40s and 50s, but I’m not about to initiate a petition for the return of Howdy Dowdy, or lobby the fashion industry to bring back poodle skirts.
And, while I do miss Archie and Jughead, I don’t get sentimental when reminded of what the price of gasoline used to be, or that a movie ticket used to cost 25 cents.
Six days and counting, and I continue to eat my way out of Florida. More good-bye dinners with friends we will not see for six months. So what if my clothes have gotten tighter? I am more than compensated by the fact that the non-use of my stove and dishwasher is a great energy-saver.
“Where would you like to go?” is the inevitable question preceding the appointments. The familiar response: “We’re easy; you choose.” By now I know better than to be seduced by this seemingly agreeable remark. It is never easy. Twenty-five to thirty texts and emails later we finally agree on a place. With all the effort that was exerted, we could have negotiated peace in the Middle East.
Why is all of this sounding vaguely familiar? Because four years ago, in 2012, I wrote on the same topic. I’ve decided to republish it. Considering that we are now four years older, I trust I can count on most of you to not remember!
April is a month that seems to inspire poetry. However, Chaucer, who praised April in his prologue to the “Canterbury Tales” would certainly not have agreed with the opening line of T.S. Eliot’s famous poem, “The Wasteland,” quoted above. But then again, Chaucer was not a woman who had to face the terror and humiliation of shopping for a new bathing suit.
Neither, I recognize, was T. S. Eliot, who nevertheless, with these five words, revealed a remarkable empathy with older women confronting the reality of the coming beach season. It is highly doubtful that this application of Eliot’s words will be found in any serious literary criticism. This particular interpretation of their meaning is all mine.
I was in a doctor’s waiting room the other day catching up on my magazine reading (see “Death, Taxes, and the Annual Exam,” February 29, 2016), when the title of a particular article captured my attention: The Disappearance of Older Women.
Had this been the National Enquirer, I would have assumed that it was another story about alien abductions. But why aliens would want to kidnap post-menopausal females was indeed a mystery unto itself. Perhaps on some planet not yet discovered by NASA they had overbuilt their assisted living facilities? Even for the Enquirer, that seemed a little far-fetched.
For those of you who have imagined me lounging by the pool for the month of August, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, I’ve been lounging on my screen porch, which is nowhere near the pool, and doesn’t dictate that I wear a bathing suit. But I have not been idle.
As a matter of fact, I’ve been very busy pondering life, and how I might best find purpose for all those estrogen-free years that lay ahead.
You see — I was a post-menopausal seeker, looking for role models for the third act of life. I refused to accept that gray hair, a few wrinkles, and five extra pounds of tummy fat somehow reduced my societal net worth. (Although I do admit that it does give one pause!)
By any chance, do you to remember an old movie called The Enchanted Cottage starring Robert Young and Dorothy McGuire? It was released a long time ago, 1945 to be exact. If you don’t remember it, please don’t lie and tell me it’s because you weren’t born yet. I happen to know how old you are!
Anyway, in this film, Robert Young plays a disfigured war veteran and Dorothy McGuire plays a homely maid. The two marry, and as time passes, fall more deeply in love. Within the confines of the cottage in which they live, they begin to appear beautiful to each other.
Well, apparently, I had been happily living in an enchanted cottage of my own. At least until the other day, when a terrorist disguised as an eye doctor blew the whole thing to smithereens!
They’re ba-a-a-a-ck! Along with the tulip shoots pushing up through the snow, the robins, the melting ice, and the mud, the coming of spring marks a new season of Reality TV. But is it really new?
From the commercials, I see the same young faces and half-clad bodies with not a single love handle to be spotted in the entire group. The days and times might be different, but it is quite clear from the lack of Silver Sneakers, that not one television executive heeded my suggestions for winning an “older” audience.