A Fine Day to Die

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It was a beautiful day outside, but my friend Teri and I sat in recliners in her basement, checking our emails and binge watching Botched, and A & E reality show about plastic surgery gone horribly wrong.

After about three hours, I said, “Teri, they say we should live each day as if it’s our last.  This could be our last day, and this is how we spent it?”

She paused then said, “I’m good with that.”

Teri and I were both teachers, and we worked our asses off (not so you’d notice) for three decades.  In retirement, we’ve become slothful, like pet rocks.  We are absolutely over all the activity: the setting of alarms, the running to meetings, the grading of papers, the getting out of recliners.IMG_2642

johnny-depp-dior-vogue-3jun15-pr_b_320x480Many people have their bucket lists.  My friend Ned (who has a bumper sticker that says “Mrs. Depp,” wants to meet Johnny.  My 87-year-old step-mother recently checked off three items on her list:  set foot in Mexico, zipline, and ride a horse.

Maryanne checking to see that Rick got a picture of her ziplining.

Maryanne checking to see that Rick got a picture of her ziplining.

My husband wants to photograph sunrise and sunset in every time zone on the planet.  Donald Trump wants to be a despot of a yuuuge nation.

Twenty years ago, I met Tom Jones as he was walking to the loo, so I’ve emptied my bucket.  (And BTW, Tom is not short.  He probably does have hair plugs.  He has yuuuuge hands. And he definitely dresses left.)

Do you see how he can't keep his eyes off me?

Do you see how Tom can’t keep his eyes off me?

I just don’t have the energy to make goals that involve helmets and release forms, or visas and Imodium.

I am good with the mundane day, and I would be happy if I had nothing but mundane days until my last.

A day when I wake up and my phone is fully charged so I can burn up an hour, still reclined, liking and replying and friending and sharing.

A day when there’s plenty of hot water and a reliable toilet.

A day when I get up and pour broth and beans and ham hocks in the crock pot and anticipate the aroma when I get home.

A day when I turn the key in the ignition and all those car parts I can’t name and don’t understand fire and hum and carry me forward.

A trip to the grocery, one when I remember to bring in my cloth bags, one when II actually need the paper towels for which I have a coupon.  And in the grocery, I hear someone call out, “Mrs. Lingo,” and it’s a thirty-five-year-old kid I taught in sixth grade with his children. He tells his kids I was his favorite teacher, and then he sings them a little ditty I taught him in sixth grade about how to multiply fractions.

And then I go to the parking lot and can’t find my car, because I can never find my silver car in the sea of silver cars, especially not when I have ice cream in my bag or when it’s raining.  But it’s okay, this day, because it’s not raining, and I already ate the ice cream in the check-out line.

I lug my groceries to the elevator, and as soon as the doors part, the delicious salty porkiness of my bean soup wafts down the hall.

The day proceeds in a march of ordinariness:  a trip with my 96-year-old mother-in-law to the dentist, then getting her all jammied up and tucked into bed; a stop at Staples for ink and Lowe’s for a little metal thingamajig.

A long slog at 5:00 on I71, while listening to an interview with an erudite cellist on NPR.

Home long enough to get some whites going in the washer and to change clothes.

A brisk three-block walk to the library on heavy-duty legs (from 63 years of weight training, if you catch my drift) and a couple hours later, a walk back with five books, and maybe a stop for wine at Arnold’s.

Soup on a tray while watching Hardball and reading the newspaper and checking my email and ignoring my husband.

And at 10:00, as is our custom, we get ready for bed, each in our own bathroom, tossing back handfuls of pills, brushing are teeth and Inspecting our receding gums, eradicating facial hair from our chins.  And then we read until eleven, a habit of a “mature” retired couple before retiring.

And it’s thanks to luck that I have had this mundane day, a day of enough:  enough food; enough health; enough safety; enough love.  And I know that this lucky day would be beyond the wildest imaginations of most people:  Indian children scrounging through rubbish; Syrians praying on rafts; veterans adjusting prostheses; homeless begging food; little kids enduring chemo.

But here’s the thing:  Fate sneers at the lucky. I can buy insurance, wish on a star, or pick shamrocks, but once Fate points its fickle finger at me, I’m going down.

A clogged artery, a lightning storm, a texting driver, a rogue breast cell – could make me unlucky in an instant, and it would make humdrum look pretty darned great.

Bring on the mundane days, every day to the last.IMG_2802 (3)

Copyright © 2016 Sandy Lingo, All Rights Reserved



Thanks for reading!                    Sandy Lingo

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Tom Jones!

Tom Jones thanks you, too.


  1. Sandy, once again you pinpoint feelings most of us can’t articulate. And yes, I could live mundanely for the rest of my days if I have good family and friends like you. Love you!

  2. me, too … bring on the mundane

    and let’s remember how blessed we are

    always could be worse…

  3. Thanks again for the insight.

  4. So poignant and powerful, as always. You are right…for many of us our mundane days would be the stuff of luxury and lottery winners for 3/4ths the world’s population. Thank you for reminding me that being rich means being content with what you already have. And that the present moment is the only one I have for sure, so I might as well enjoy it.

    • Sandy
      My paper was soaking wet from the storm last night and I had to throw it away. I read this instead and found it infinitely better. Thanks.

  5. Mundane is beautiful, isn’t it? I think you nailed it in this post. Thanks for sharing your mundane life with us—it made me smile.

  6. You are the Erma Bombeck of the Queen City!

  7. Love it. I’ve been retired for all of three weeks. I garden a little, read a little, eat a little write a little… just taking it one day at a time, grateful to have the opportunity to “be”. Some might call it mundane, but I’m enjoying myself!

  8. I had the choice of cleaning the kitchen or reading your blog. Since it is prudent to eat dessert first, I went with the blog! You express everywoman’s feelings so well! Life is the ordinary, the trivial, the mundane, with people and pets that we love.

    Bucket lists are great-gonna meet Johnny after all on July 12th! But after that life will go back to normal, thank God!! At me age, one has to ration the excitement.

    Great choice of topics and elegant choice of words!!

  9. Hilarious! Your posts are so great! The picture of you standing behind Tom Jones with the caption “he can’t take his eyes off of me” still has me laughing. And you and Teri in the recliners watching “Botched?” Priceless!

    Thank you for keeping us smiling, and also for reminding us to be grateful for the little things in life.

  10. Loved your blog Sandy and loved seeing you recently. You have a gift for writing and it is obvious in your blog; humorous, descriptive, to the point, and great things to think about. Keep me on your list you sweet girl!!!!!

    • Love you, Billie! Thanks for reading and responding.

  11. Books and movies are always enjoyed more when we can relate to them! I am glad to say that I had no trouble relating to this blog!! There is nothing mundane about your writing!

    • Oh my gosh! Mary Ashby! Isn’t the digital age awesome in the way it connect old friends? Thanks for reading and responding.

  12. Oh, Sandy, this is one of yr most insightful ones. I was going to say precious but it sounded too…precious… I love yr words! Thank you for the perspective/s!

  13. I loved the “receding gums and chin hairs”. I can so relate. Our evenings are spent sitting side by side on the sofa watching a murder mystery. Our lives look ho hum to young folk but it’s enough for us.

  14. I hope to reach the mundane state of life in about 3 years … until then, I love readying your blogs to help me see the light at the end of the tunnel! Thanks, Sandy!

    • Of course that should say “reading” … been one of those kind of days! :)

  15. Always wonderful and so apt and true!!

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Sandy Lingo

Life itself is the proper binge.  - Julia Child

A writing friend said that when she reads my writing, she always wants a second helping.



Second Helping Subjects