Here’s what I learned: It doesn’t take long for the thin veneer of civilization to corrode.These are the things that have fallen away for me in just a few days of living alone:
Looking in the mirror
Leaving the house
Anything resembling an eating plan
A sleep schedule
Wearing a bra
Looking at a clock
On the other hand, there’s been a sharp uptick in certain other activities:
Silent weeping, mostly related to TV watching
I checked online for symptoms of depression and except for those related to personal hygiene (and really, it’s only me and the dog and the dog doesn’t mind) I don’t fit the profile. So this is just whining self-pity. And I hate that in a person. Under normal circumstances, I try my best to frame things in a positive way and I try to encourage people around me to do that , too.
So I figured that i could use a little push and I started to look around for online affirmations that I could use to buck me up and keep me thinking positive.
But this isn’t going to work. What kind of person could look at this and take it seriously? Not the kind of person I am, that’s for sure. And the affirmation apps for the iPhone are even worse.
So it looks like I will have to dig myself out of my own hole without the help of cyberspace. I don’t know. Maybe I’d feel better if I knew where to get good Chinese food.
I’m nobody’s wife. Sami is gone to Florida to assist his ailing sister. He’ll be gone 10 days total, including the holiday and my birthday. Today is only Day 5. Living single sucks.
I’m nobody’s mother. Both of my children are grown and gone to live in other places. I thought I was pretty good as a mother but one of them rushes me off the hone with a promise to call back later, which never happens, and the other one ignores all of my attempts at contact in any form and doesn’t even pretend that she didn’t see it or hear it.
I’m nobody’s friend. I have two life long friends that I would have described as BFFs a short time ago but that only works if I am listening to them. If something is happening to me, the most I can expect is a perfunctory comment of casual interest and that interest fades pretty goddamn quickly.
And you know, I’m not doing that well. I have a knee thing, and a heart thing, and a dental thing, and a boob thing and a few assorted other things. The way things are going, I really can’t see the point of getting any of them fixed.
Adding to my list of Things I Can’t Do Anymore is gift giving. I used to have the knack of picking out just the right thoughtful and surprising thing to give to people. Now they politely accept what I give, declare it “nice” and express thanks exactly like this: ” thank you” and then that’s the last time the item is ever mentioned, let alone seen.
Sorry to be a downer, but I am pretty sad about the way I’m living now.
There was this blue elephant, see? I wrecked it and I am feeling very, very bad about it.
It was harvested from a curbside trashpile many years ago and spent most of its time in the garage, ignored and buried under our own junk. The top has a deep depression in it so it’s probably a planter. Maybe a base for a glass topped-end table. It came into the living room last year so we could look at it and ponder if it (a) could benefit from a spray paint makeover or (b) should go back to the trash. Believe me, nobody ever wanted to trash it. It has great detail in terms of elephant wrinkles, toenails and tassels that hang from the howdah and the deep aqua glaze that stuck in those details and made it all the more compelling.
Finally its day in the sun came and it was decided that it would go Glossy Ivory and move to Philadelphia where my daughter, the curbside harvester herself, would incorporate it into the decor of the apartment she’s moving into this weekend. This morning I picked it up to test how heavy it was and if I could carry it out to the deck myself or if I had to wait for Sami to do it. It was surprisingly light and manageable. I thought all along that it was concrete but it turns out to be made of plaster. I walked it through the kitchen on the way out to the deck but I misjudged how wide it was as I carried it.
You know, when I was getting near the kitchen table, I thought maybe I should put it down and regroup for the rest of the trip. But I was so pleased with how I was managing and proud that I didn’t need any help to do this so I kept on going. So funny how life changes in a flash because right then is when I crashed it into the side of a chair as i passed it.
Severe tusk damage. Sad face sad face sad face. SAD FACE! I tried gluing it back together and it will probably be okay if I just find that one last piece. Maybe Sami can patch it up. He’s pretty good with holes in drywall maybe he can fill this. He thinks he can.
My daughter took the news very well. “It’s ok. At the end of the day it came from the garbage, right?” she texted back to me. I offered to spray paint the faded garden gnome hoisting a foaming beer mug for her but she declined. She’s really not upset about it but I feel terrible. I was the guardian of the blue elephant and I failed.
UPDATE!Sami was able to patch the tusk and also an area on the butt that we didn’t see before. Apparently, the plaster body has a slip coat over it and that is where the glaze was applied. That slip coat is no thicker and no stronger than the hard candy shell on an M&M. The elephant’s butt had an irregularly shaped 2″x 2″ section where the glazed shell fell off. Sami patched that too.
I sprayed a light test coat of Krylon Gloss Ivory on one side this morning and at the first pass, it became obvious that the entire shell is crazed. But I’m moving ahead anyway. It is my destiny to prop up imperfect things that are temporary and preserve them and share them as long as I can. Vintage redwood patio furniture that rots and crumbles, mid-century dinnerware that chips and smashes, even The Painted Deer which seemed indestructible but was felled by a hurricane.
There’s a lesson in all this I guess. Something about how all things are transient, or don’t get too attached to material things. Or maybe just you are a weirdo stop wasting your time. But how can I stop? And why should I? This thing is going to be magnificent. For as long as it lasts.
For me, it’s kind of boring and empty with the constant expectation of disaster breaking through at any moment. Sometimes, when I sit quietly, I get stuck on the things that didn’t work out for me. I’m unhappy about the amount of crap in my house – some of it is mine most of it is his. I’m noticing that I no longer hold people’s (family and friends) attention when I speak. People (work) still want to hear from me but there are some days I don’t feel up to the challenge of what I have to/should do. Where I never would have been seen in public with chipped nail polish before, now I surprise my self by looking down at my hands and wondering how things got to such a state. I could have conducted myself in a more mature manner when I was trying to convince my sister to get a flu shot instead of saying she was a cuckoo and calling her doctor a quack.