Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Generational Hits and Misses



Why do young people think that old people have nothing to do but sit around waiting for them to follow through on a promise? If I hadn’t been young once myself who was guilty of taking my parents for granted I would still be madder than a wet hen over something that happened this past weekend. I’ve never seen a wet hen but I have it on good authority that as idioms go this one makes no sense because chickens don’t mind being wet. And I suppose it makes no sense for me to be annoyed at being on the receiving end---rather than the giving end---of broken promises between generations but I was. “Mom, we just got too busy to stop by. I know, I should have called.”

Here’s what happened. Last July I mentioned to a relative of Don’s that I wanted to get rid of the bed frame and mattress set in my spare bedroom and turn the space into an art room. The mattresses while not new hadn’t been slept on more than a handful of nights---30 to be precise. She said her son (a guy in his forties) was looking to get a new bed for their daughter because she’d outgrown the single bed she was using. So the relative called her son and, yup, he wanted my mattress set. I was giving it away so I thought he’d come get it soon after the call. Nope. When that didn’t happen and as time went by I thought he’d changed his mind. For all I knew, his daughter pitched a fit about sleeping on something used. I wasn’t hearing anything from the mother or son.

Fast forward to this week when out of the blue I got a Facebook message from the guy that he’d like to pick up the mattresses and bed frame on Sunday and he would call Saturday to arrange a time. So I did my weekend shopping on Friday. Cleaned my house. Stripped down the bed and moved some things out of that room and into my bedroom to make it easier to get the mattresses out. I even went down the dreaded basement steps to clean up my painting easel that I was going to ask him to bring up while he was here. Saturday went by. No call. By 4:30 on Sunday still no call or Facebook message. I was the proverbial wet hen at that point in time and I visualized months going by before I’d hear anything again. So I started planning a passive aggressive act of revenge he’d never know about. It involved not giving him a collectible I knew he’d love. I’d sell it on eBay. Then he finally called, came over within twenty minutes and as he and his wife were leaving, I gave into my better self and presented him the family heirloom, cutting myself out of a $150 to $200 sale on eBay. Yup, I’m going to need to practice revengeful acts of passive aggressiveness because I clearly suck at it.

The lesson I learned from this saga is that until I became one, I really never understood how disruptive it was to tell an older person I’d stop by on a certain day, then not show up. Like many young people probably do, I assumed my folks would always be there sitting in front of the TV---no place to go, nothing else to do but wait for me to come brighten their day. Big sigh here. Sticking with the chicken idioms, I have to wipe the egg off my face and stop complaining. The universe is just setting things in balance. My Yin got Yanged.

Change of Topic: I got a new printer but I took one look at the nearly non-existence directions for setting it up and I decided to call in the geek guy to do it. I found a tutorial online that would have walked me through the process but I found a tutorial online to help me fix my old printer, too, and all I managed to do is give that one the final death blow. The guy, who was all decked out in black leather from head to toe, showed up on Monday. Not on time but since when do any service people show up when they’re scheduled so I didn’t get bent out of shape. This time he wasn’t wearing his vest of many pockets that I lusted after the last time he was here but that didn’t stop me from lusting after his computer skills. I think he specializes in helping grandparent types with their computer problems because, for a young guy, he sure knows how to communicate with people nearly three times his age. We covered everything from antiques to tattoos. We were talking about how computers are for his generation like cars were for my generation---a social hub of sorts---when he said something interesting. He said in my day we had to memorize and remember stuff and apply logic and that older people still problem solve that way while his generation just has to know how to look things up online. The bottom line---if he’s telling the truth---is he thinks older people are smarter than his generation because they are lost without their cellphones, Wi-Fi and the internet. True or not, it was nice to talk to a young person who genuinely seems to respect, appreciate and take an interest in his elders.  ©

11 comments:

  1. Yep, it appears our lives don't matter. I fixed that. I just don't wait around for anyone to decide they will finally do something. I just go do what I want and if they show up two days late that is their monkey and their circus, not mine.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. That's really a healthy approach, Sandee, and one I have yet to master.

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    2. BTW--the computer kid is right! It wouldn't be a lot of fun, but we could still exist and have a decent life without all the technology. I doubt anyone under 40 could. I'm with Sandee. It has happened a few times to me. Not that I get anyone coming over to help, so.........................

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    3. I agree. It's hard to image young people without their phones glued to their heads. They couldn't entertain themselves without one.

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  2. I agree. It's a pain in the patootie to wait for someone. It is very rare for repair/service people to show up on time. I've had them be a day late. That's really bad.

    We tend to be accommodating to the schedules of others because, after all, we are retired. I recently told someone that we couldn't do something on a certain day because we had plans. I think they were a little surprised.

    We definitely didn't have back-up when we were young, did we? No internet, that's for sure. I read a book in which an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) caused all of the power: internet, all forms of communication, cars, televisions, radios, etc. to stop working. Only old cars that did not depend on computers would work. People with skills (mostly older folks) became more valuable to society. Fixing things became very important to survival. Interesting.

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    1. That sounds like an interesting book! Probably really scary to young people. LOL One of my favorite programs is CyberCSI. It really shows how dependent our society is on computers and how easy it would be for hackers to cause major issues. Recently they did a show where hackers hacked into life support machines at a hospital and were killing patients one an hour. Once they did a show about trains being hacked and another on roller coasters. Scary stuff!

      I get so little company that when someone wants to stop I'll cancel other things and work around their time schedules, when they want to come, but there are times like with the bed that it frustrates me to be on the bottom of the list, so to speak. On the other hand I do remember how crazy busy we were in our 40s trying to do everything our jobs, society and life in general demanded of us. It is what it is.

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  3. And then factor in how the 30-somethings communicate with you (if at all). Most do NOT answer their phones. (My daughter does 50% of the time because she knows it bothers me). They don't respond to email and only occasionally on FB private message. Text seems the best way ... at least that works best for me. Most of the time!

    But you are right. Young folks just thing we do nothing!

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    1. Texting drives me nuts if the person you're texting with doesn't use punctuation. Same on Facebook. Honestly, it does drive me NUTS to sit and try to figure out run-on sentences! Testing does seem to be the quickest way to get a hold of young people and that isn't going to change so we have to. LOL

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  4. I think new technologies always mean the loss of old skills. Who can memorize a saga that takes days to recite? We don't need to; we can write it down. How many of us can light a fire without a match? We don't need to; we have matches. When I was teaching, I noticed that I could do all kinds of quick mental arithmetic that my students had never needed because they had always had calculators. I feel those skills make my brain sharper; I think my students felt that it was just a quaint magic trick. -Jean

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    1. A quaint magic trick...that's funny. But I get the point of not bothering to learn things that are so easy, now, to access through a device. When I went back to college in my forties to finish my degree I had to take some required math classes that weren't required back in the '60s when I started.They really did teach logical thinking. I loved those classes and if calculators were around back then, we couldn't use them. I just sold a 100 year old book on how to teach penmanship and that is quickly becoming obsolete...to learn to write and read long-hand. It's interesting how and what different generations learn.

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