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.
Many 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.
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.)
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.
Copyright © 2016 Sandy Lingo, All Rights Reserved
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