After that title, I’ve got nothing.
Next week I am going to meet a lawyer and get my will done and stamped or whatever. I gave up trying to do it on the cheap. I almost choked on a cough drop when I was sick and thought “geez I need to get my will in order”. That would be about the dumbest way to die I can think of. Everybody still goes on about Momma Cass choking on a ham sandwich, I mean, SHE WAS BRILLIANT and yet that’s what they remember.
I am not brilliant but seriously, I need to get my ducks in a row.
I still miss my friend Sandy but I am no longer in total pain. I am slowly working on building up my strength and trying to set goals (that don’t cost money). There will be plenty of expenses this year and it looks like the bastard they elected for Premier here has nixed the company that gave me work.
I shovelled a bit of the driveway and built a fort with my grandson. (It has been COLD here in the North!) These are fun and good exercise, okay the shovelling the driveway maybe not so much but a good work out nonetheless. Today I will try climbing over snow piles to get to the bus stop! What fun!
I love Mama Cass’s voice and this song really is hers. I have also decided I want it played if anyone cobbles together a funeral or wake when I go. Just the link. I don’t know if it will work. Give it a try or just go to Youtube and search Mama Cass.
I saw the Mama’s and Papa’s at a roadhouse sort of club between Toronto and Stratford Ontario, in maybe the year 1987. Mama Cass was gone and they had Spanky (Elaine McFarlane) singing her parts and Mackenzie Phillips singing her mother’s parts. My friend was a bartender there and she got me in for free. I got to go backstage and meet them. Underwhelming and if I were into gossip maybe interesting but the music was lovely. (The sweetness of the music hid the serious drug addictions going on).
I was out in a social environment, drinking a beer, chatting. In reference to something, someone said, “Oh yes, you are a clown aren’t you?”
Having said out loud that I was retired made it true. But it has been a long time coming. First off the fact that parents started telling me that clowns were “scary” and they would prefer that I not dress up. (I think I am way more scary without my clown makeup but hey, if they don’t want clown face I don’t do clown face.)
But I also started to notice how physically demanding it was. I love talking to the kids about what they imagine they are becoming as I paint their faces, or just seeing their level of commitment as they patiently wait as I apply the paint but there are many younger people who have steadier hands and stronger backs.
And I have grandchildren now. I am so lucky to get to see them as they grow into this world. I think now I need to spend my time doing what I can to see they continue to have one.
I just finished “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande and now I am reading, “The Man Who Wasn’t There, Investigations into the Strange New Science of the Self” by Anil Ananthaswarmy. The first made me feel a lot better about my mother’s death, which was a “good death” all in all. He makes reference to several other books which put me on another path of reading, hence “The Man Who…”
“Thinking Fast and Slow” is the next one I hope to get from the library although I am 369th on a waiting list.
I have had a few experiences and I possess a few patterns, at times frightening and other times wonderful . But I have never enjoyed being “odd” or “weird” except perhaps when I finally gave up trying and just practiced Zazen and Tai Chi a lot. It is exciting for me to learn that neurology is coming up with some very neat connections; New ideas that sometime sound like Buddhist psychology, Zen, Shinjin. 🙂
I got in an argument when I was a kid about whether a certain plant was poison ivy. I was certain it was a Trillium that was not yet flowering. “So rub your face in it!” was her response. I did. I was wrong. Boy was I wrong.
We all hate finding out we are wrong. We might enjoy the humiliation of someone else, especially a blow hard being proven wrong or laugh at the slap-stick that a wrong premise can lead a character to repeat over and over. We recognize it because we have all known that often uncomfortable realization.
The thing about being wrong, as Kathryn Schulz author of “Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error” points out, it feels just like being right. Until we find out we are wrong we can feel pretty good.
Then, after we realize we are wrong we might continue to act as if we are right because we think we have too much to lose by making such an admission.
On the other hand we can believe that they are so wrong we have to bring them to justice, or to the court of public opinion, or just remind them, frequently. We can even feel pleasure from this punishing of others for their stumbles. It is unfortunate because we will be wrong again too.
Being wrong is part of being human. How a character in a fiction deals with the realization and all its ramifications can drive a story but in real life, it is an opportunity for us to learn and grow as a human being, and in real life we get lots of opportunities. Lucky thing because learning to be an adult human being is what your all too human life is about. It really is.
I don’t think I agree with Mr. Sedaris when he says:
Though there’s an industry built on telling you otherwise, there are few real joys to middle age. The only perk I can see is that, with luck, you’ll acquire a guest room.
and as per usual I read the line incorrectly at first as “There ARE A FEW real joys”. Ooops. There are many draw-backs to aging but I have found there are a few, very real joys. Acquiring a guest room speaks of many things, financial things, years of acquiring security, home and also friends. These things are indeed things to be pleased about. But the greatest joys I am finding, and I am past middle-age, are in being less observed and more observing, needing less and appreciating more, and feeling less expectation (and maybe more love).
These days I am having very wonderful conversations sometimes on public transit with people who I would probably never have had an opportunity to talk to previously in my life. I am not sure why this is happening more often but it might be that I am not always looking at the floor and listening to a podcast or reading a book or sleeping or avoiding eye contact, but I also think it is because I am over sixty, completely non-threatening and usually, if I am going somewhere, pretty happy.
I am at a point in my life where I can contribute a bit to those in my life but no one is entirely dependent on me. While I am hardly noticed unless it looks like I might need to sit down, I can notice all sorts of things.
A week ago I ended up talking with a woman at length, a bus and two subways worth, after an unleased dog ran at the fence to the school yard his owner had let him run in, barking rather ferociously at her. (I tend to be really scared of running dogs since having been bitten). I wanted to calm her (and myself) so I said something like, “Scary huh?” She said she had a lot of experience with dogs growing up in Jamaica and she had a heavy purse. 😉
We talked about dogs, she likes them, I don’t much, and cats, she doesn’t like them, I do, and children and being grandmothers and what each of us thinks is the most important thing to learn (my favourite question). Along the way I mentioned that I had an auntie who had always made me feel special. We were discussing the importance for children to have a safe person who will always accept them and give them space to just be children, “like grandparents do” we said in unison.
I got to my stop on the subway after a long and wonderful conversation, learning her age and history and family and her beliefs while sharing mine. We were holding hands by this time. She said, “What is your name?” I told her and asked her for her name. “Opal” she said.
That was the name of my favourite auntie!
I find a lot of joy at my age.
I have spent a fair amount of time during my life being told that nobody wants to hear any of my crazy ideas. Maybe some click counting software figures out my interests and then throws out thinly veiled advertisments for those products that are sort of in-line with said interests making me believe that those crazy ideas are mainstream, but I resist falling for it. I really do. If I have learned anything in sixty years it is that I am not popular, I am not mainstream. I don’t mean that I am counter-culture either, or fringe or edgy. I am annoying. So I stopped going on and on about composting when I was at a parties years ago.
But it seems compost is a good subject for casual conversation. Sheesh. When will I ever NOT be a social pariah?