I took a two minute shower then played with my hair for a zillion minutes before calling it a lost cause. My hair dresser recently put low-lights in my hair and she made me look like a skunk. (Mercy me, there are so many anonymous older women on earth I need to apologize to for my wicked thoughts. It never dawned on me until I became a skunk myself that other women don’t necessarily request their salons give them coal black hair that doesn’t go with worn out skin. I thought they were just trying to recapture their youth.) But I wasn’t going to let my hair keep me home. I had a date with a snake. Literally. The senior citizen hall was hosting a presentation put on by the zoo’s outreach program. Besides, I knew there’d be a few ladies there with Easter egg pink or blue hair and maybe even another skunk-like do. It isn't fair that when you’re young and have “unique hair” it’s called cutting edge but when you’re my age people just think we need an intervention from a make-over squad.
I actually got to touch a half dozen animals and reptiles I’ve never touched before. Not that it was on my Bucket List to do so, but I do what I have to do fit in and it was interesting hearing behind-the-scenes stories about caring for the animals. Each day at a certain time, for example, a brown bear at the zoo beats on the metal door to the enclosure where their food is left while the other bears in the habitat keep right on doing what they’re doing until they hear the door open before they mosey on over. Isn’t that a lot like what we humans do? Some of us rush ahead trying to mold things to our timetable and liking while others among us wait for the future to unlock its door and then we walk through it.
I don't know if I'm a door-banger or a waiter but I wish I’d check myself in the mirror more often when I’m rushing off in an attempt to make new friends in the neighborhood. When I got home today I realized my sweater was buttoned up wrong. I went all day like that and no one told me! I suppose there is an etiquette rule that dictates one is not supposed to mention transgressions like these to the transgressor. But I’d rather be told so I only spend half a day---instead of all day---having people think I’m a few mistakes short of being shipped off to an assisted living facility. “Put another punch in her Old Person Card. Only seven more and off she goes.”
The senior hall is a god-send for widows, though, even if they don’t tell you when your sweater looks like you let the three year neighbor button you up. The summer newsletter was available today and I’ve already signed up for four day trips, three luncheons and three life enrichment lectures plus I have the monthly cooking-for-one lessons as well. I keep thinking I should do some of their drop-in exercise classes---yoga, line dancing, zumba, or pilates but contrary to popular belief not all old people like getting up at the crack of dawn---at least I don’t. Instead, I’m thinking of finding a beginner dog dancing or agility class or maybe another summer dog training class. I’ve got this four-legged creature living in the house and he needs something to look forward to besides having me follow him down the nature trail stealing his poop deposits.
Aside from working hard at trying to find myself a social life, I don’t know what else to do about the loneliness widowhood brought into my life. It’s starting to frustrate me and I’m having a terrible time controlling the impulse to stand on a street corner and sing like Mister Rogers: “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, won’t you please, PLEASE be my friend!” Well, he didn’t beg like that but he was such a beloved educator, songwriter, minister, author and TV host I doubt he ever got so lonesome he could cry. ©