My neighbor’s husband died at
98 and I should write a letter but it’s been so long since I’ve done so
even finding the stationary is as hopeless as finding an honest man.
I like the instruments of communication: the fine, heavy pen with
black and gold scroll on its stem and the thick, ecru
cards matched like dancing class with their own envelopes lined with forest green
tissue so thin it might tear and stop protecting those elegant phrases underneath.
Often, when I was younger, I wrote for the sake of using these implements,
just as I spoke for the sake of using my voice. Having no real desire to let someone
know my thoughts, a letter or a song, or a line in a play, could communicate different
realities I chose with ease. Holding my Koh-I Noor Rapidograph .13 Technical pen like a
curtain between two worlds transcribing, ghostwriting, makes it safe to say anything I
dream of now.
Everything is still. I never understand why there isn’t a drumroll when the sun comes up particularly these days. I got rid of my gun. Well, that’s not completely true. I got rid of my ammo which seems the same. I think I’ll just sit and wait for the revolution. On my front porch legs askew drinking beer I’ll wait for them to walk up to my front door and say who the hell are you? I’ll tell them quite calmly that I’ve been trying to answer that question most of my life. It doesn’t matter where you live as there’s no security anywhere. Today it’s so quiet but I know it will be very noisy on Wednesday. I’ve found that’s generally true. Right before a major explosion there’s an unearthly quiet that itches into your skin. Even the dogs are restless. The big one sighs heavily every hour or so. Sometimes when you’re in a really bad situation you try to back out of it. I’ve had this feeling before. I’m thinking to myself no this isn’t what I wanted to have happen but it’s too late. I think it’s too late for this country to right itself and make everybody get along.Rich people are trying to get vaccinated before everybody else. Poor people don’t want to be vaccinated as they think it’s a trick. Maybe it is.
I never thought I would spend the end of my life sequestered but on the other hand maybe it’s a good practice for what comes afterwards.
Today I was watching an
insignificant film in which a
young girl traveling in Italy with her
Dad was swimming in a hotel
pool doing laps inside of the
20 foot bowl back and forth
and I started to
cry. Only in Italy do they have
hotel pools carved out of marble
lipped with travertine, lined with
Carrera, filled with the water of
Aquaducts and baptizing tears.
I saw my daughter at 12, a swimming
Black haired and glistening, and I
remember promising her we
would return with her
daughter to a pool in Italy
someday. I wonder if anything
I promised will come true…
The most important thing to do for me is to keep reminding myself that every breath I take is an exercise in staying alive. Don’t look to the future even if it’s just tomorrow. Don’t look at the past and all the shadows. Just keep breathing. If I need something to calm me down I think of my grandchildren. I am very grateful for them. I’ve had other periods like this in my life but they were from my own depression which caused me to feel that I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything. The fact that this is caused by a worldwide pandemic is too mind boggling to even comprehend. So I focus instead on the books in my house that I have yet to read, and the people that I hear from that I love so much. That’s my work. I wish I could help you find yours.
Dark wood tree
New life growing
So I was wrong when I wrote that yesterday was Wednesday because today is Wednesday. Who cares? Some friends of mine and I went to visit a retirement community yesterday. It was a necessary day of travel. It was necessary because all three of us are going crazy. We keep looking for places to live when we’re old and some in our group are older than others. Here’s what we want: nice cozy apartment that belong to us, a dining room where everybody is friendly and the food is delicious, a year round pool and a year-round gym and the possibility of having nursing care if you become gaga. And I don’t mean lady. Do you think this is easy to find? Well you’re wrong. Most places we have seen have been incredibly depressing. Even in California there’s no one walking around outside. The places inside are small and claustrophobic and in the dining room everything is painted brown including the Naugahyde chairs. I don’t need a lot because I like to chat up people which is the story of my life. I’ve met several people on airplanes who have become lifelong friends. Now that I’m older I do feel more fragile but still feisty and independent so I know I don’t really want to make a commitment to buy something right now unless I could sell it right away if I didn’t like it. Some of these places give you tests when you try to buy a place to see how long it’s going to be before you totally lose it and they have to pay for you. If someone gave me a test like that I would clearly fail . I have a very hard time taking anything seriously. As you may have read before, I definitely have oppositional defiant disorder. I would be leading revolts and protest marches and sitins in the old age homes if things weren’t up to snuff. If I couldn’t find enough people join me in doing this I would recruit them from the outside world and dress them as members of my community. The whole thing is interesting. How do we live when we are old? I think most women would say they don’t want to stay in their house with their husbands because the husbands by this time are grouchy. Also they require constant feeding.I have a hard time with anyone that requires constant feeding even a goldfish..This may explain why I live alone. Anyway I’m going to visit as many of these places as I possibly can and then I am hoping I’ll find a bunch of people who will want to start our own place. We could buy some property someplace and build a main house with a giant commercial kitchen and a great room where we could all hang out and eat together and play games, maybe even hide and seek,and have a generally convivial time. Then we could all retreat to our individual apartments until we were ready to meet up again. There would be a big vegetable garden and we would have places for young people to live with their families so they’d be happy working on the property and we would get the benefit of seeing the children running around. Worst thing about getting old is being shoveled off to a building where there are only other old people. I think the best thing in the world would be to get old with a bunch of pals in an environment that was young and fun and loving and compassionate. That’s what I’m looking for
It doesn’t really matter what day it is because nobody knows anyway. Maybe bankers know. I don’t know. I don’t really care. I have a weird feeling that things are not going to get better for a really long time. I’m used to my mask by now and in fact I find it quite handy. I could be a bank robber, or an anesthesiologist. I go for the latter. I think there are a lot of people who would be happy to have me put them to sleep right now. I don’t think I’ve eaten any vegetables today. Normally I would know right away what I’ve eaten each day. I don’t really like fruit. We never had fruit in our house growing up. We had six shiny mackintosh apples in a straw basket on top of the red counter in the pantry. They were the only snack we were allowed after school. I hate apples.