Talk about free association. My mind was going crazy all week, crazy ADHD-style I think...I thought about playing golf, and Mystic Aquarium, and dried flower arrangements, and Lyme Disease, and casseroles, and...just a few too many prompts to really pick one and get going. One of those weekends where you just hang your head, head in your hands, and sigh loudly. So. So I sit here after a frigging typhoon blew in yesterday, my sump pump's running and it's supposed to be lighter later, and what the hell do I make for supper? And is there any really good reason why I feel so...I don't know -- sour, I guess?
Well, I talked somewhat at length to a guy I know, Larry, earlier this week. He asked, as people do, how things were going. I said "Well, Mom is finally doing better after that pneumonia...much longer intervals in-between coughs and I think her fever's gone. Dad's trying to decide if he can quit working -- I mean, he'll be 88 in May -- and still pay the house taxes. Robert [older nephew] got sent to Baltimore on a business trip right after he and his wife got home from Florida. Russell [younger nephew] is almost through with his 3rd year at UConn -- unbelievable! Bob and Rosemary [brother and sister-in-law] are going to Maine -- I really have to sit down with them and go through those old slides -- I want copies of some of those pictures."
Larry kept nodding as I kept talking.
And then he said "Okay...now, what about you?"
Ummmm. "Well, gotta get my car cleaned out, looks like I lived in it all winter. I really want to do raised beds this year. Lots of touch-ups I have to do on the outside paint, fortunately not too high up, but I do have to clean the gutters and snap those gutter guards in and..." Larry just sat, patient, until my voice trailed off and then he said "No...what I mean is, what about YOU?"
About me. What about me. "Socially?" he said. "What are you doing for fun? For yourself?" I stopped to think. "Holly [old friend from childhood] and I went to see Avatar!" I answered triumphantly. "Pretty cool movie. 3D. You should see it if you get the chance, Larry."
Avatar. Yep - uh-huh, got to see Avatar. Years can, and do, go by without me going to see a movie, though. Nobody I know really goes to the movies. I could see Larry was waiting for the rest. "Well, my social life..." I started to say. Stopped, bit my lip, couldn't for the life of me come up with anything to do with a social life. Could tell him the title of the last book I read ("Club Dead," by Charlaine Harris). Could tell him about my cats, who have the quirky new traits of drinking out of the kitchen faucet (Molly) and the toilet (Buddy, and I'm always afraid the lid will come down on his head). But for fun? With Other People?
"Larry," I said, "My social life is gasping for breath."
Not that I'm disinterested in a social life. I do volunteer at the local library book sale (wouldn't you know it?) But at the end of that day, there's not much of an epilogue. I did belong to a group called "CGHOSTS" -- Connecticut Ghost Hunters Of Shoreline Towns, a well-run spin-off from TAPS, and obediently went to all the meetings, even going so far as to volunteer to do summer jaunts in cemeteries, but then all of a sudden -- after an investigation in a local mental institution (I wasn't in on that one) during which intolerable negative feelings arose in the core group, CGHOSTS suddenly folded. I'm interested in astrology and always wanted to pursue it further, and was delighted to meet a quirky artist last spring who needed a dog-sitter and also invited me along to a meeting of the Connecticut Astrology Association, but then inexplicably she cut ties (I think it was after I asked her for more gas money to drive her to Cape Cod). The meetings are too frigging far away to go by myself, I'd fall asleep driving on the way home. My friend Cherie's always up for going to an open mike, but you hear 'em once...plus, I hate bars.
So what's left? Free lectures by the Garden Club? Church picnics? Watching foreign films at a coffee house? You get to be fiftysomething, single, set in your ways and completely without disposable income, and you really don't have much of a social life. Not to mention the fact that I have zero tolerance for bullshit. I think people pick up on that. So I guess that's Larry's answer. And while he commiserated with me, I hate that answer. I think it's high time to reinvent myself. I really do. Right after I finish pumping the rainwater out of our tenant's basement. And changing the filter on the kitchen faucet. And reading the next chapter in "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand."
Is that my cat at the door?