I’m having a hard time deciding if I have anything left to say that hasn’t been said in a million different ways about the topics I usually write about. I need a new life! Either that or I need to start making stuff up…like fictitious trips to the Amazon---the river not the online store. I’ve been to Amazon.com more times than I care to admit and while I enjoy shopping there no one cares where I get my books and finger puppets. Note to my heirs: those plush little puppets would make great places to hide things. Be sure to check the panda’s butt when I die.
I’m a widow. Yup, I’ve covered that topic to the point of nauseam. Growing older? Get out the airsick bags, that’s another topic that is probably wearing out its welcome. Writing about the senior hall. Another ho-hum, repetitively and boring topic. The Red Hat Society. Ditto. The dog…well, I could write about him until the cows come home but few people really care about stuff like how cute he is when he stands on his back legs peering over the picket fence. “Yes, Levi, I think the grass really is greener over there.”
Today I looked a word up online to be sure I was using it right and underneath the definition was a question asking me why I looked up the word and where I first saw it. Next to the reply line was a pre-checked box that would automatically post my reply on Facebook. Really? Has the world gotten to the point where we think our friends and family actually care what words we look up in a dictionary? Obviously, the person who came up with the question and his/her superior who okayed using it on the dictionary site thought people would be utterly fascinating by the fact that the widow Jean in Michigan couldn’t define ‘chicanery’ without looking it up. Wow. That anonymous question writer needs a new life more than I do! But the question did get me to thinking about one thing: where DO we draw the line between protecting our privacy and over-sharing? I’m beginning to think future generations won’t even know there is a line. “Facebook friends, I just mistakenly put hand lotion on my legs. Should I wash it off and use body lotion?” “Facebook friends, I just saw the clock display 3-3-3!” “Facebook friends, I just peed.”
Yesterday I went to a fish fry with 30 people from the senior hall. We went to a private club where my husband had been a member for over 25 years. They open the fish fries up to the public to make money and I’d gone to those lunches twice a month for 10 years when Don was alive. After he passed away I could have remained an axillary member but I let the dues lapse. You can only be a full member if you’re male and someone has to die before a guy can move up on the waiting list to become a member. Axillary members are current wives and widows only---with your spouse’s approval. If a guy gets divorced, his X can no longer pass through the doors. I know, sexism is still alive in the big city! I accepted this without a second thought until yesterday when the young director of the senior hall started asking me questions about membership requirements and the rumors she’d heard and she was aghast at its structure.
My husband loved the place after his stroke because it's always crowded and gave him lots of opportunities to run into people from his past. After he died, it was just a place to feel lonely in a crowd for me. Going with the senior group, though, was different. The gods of irony had me sitting next to a woman I’d seen around the senior hall but had never talked to and come to find out she and my husband rode the school bus together. We swapped stories of the “good old days” as if I, too, had been a member of their class. I’d heard the hell raiser stories so often I can retell them at will---stuff like someone putting a dead skulk in the school’s ventilation system, someone stealing the flasher light off the town’s only police car, and someone turning the town’s highway sign into a swear word. If there had been a Facebook back in those days we wouldn’t have had to wait fifty years to find out who did what. My table mate kept saying, “It’s a small world, it’s a small world!” because of our chance encounter but I choose to believe Don had a hand in picking out my chair at the club’s Friday fish fry. But then again, when you take the time to talk to people, more often than not the six degrees of Kevin Bacon concept does hold up. You just gotta know the right questions to ask. ©