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Reflections January 2017

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As Time Goes By

By Anne Ashley

Oh yes… what brought this all to a frothy head this time was an impromptu luncheon/reunion with long-ago friends and classmates that had me stifling yawns so often I pulled a muscle in my nostril.

As I get older I find that I’m less and less able to focus for long (or even middling) periods of time while in the company of others. Actually, to be brutally honest, even when I’m alone I find it difficult to maintain any real interest in an entire TV program, let alone real-life people, before I start to fidget and look for something more inspiring to do. Although, my biggest pet peeve with television is the annoying prearranged and prerecorded laugh track on sitcoms or variety shows that are meant to cue our amusement – as if we can’t be trusted to recognize the differences between comedy and drama on our own. I mean, if the audience is so dim-witted that we can’t respond of our own accord to something funny without prompting, then why aren’t there also cry tracks or gasp tracks or mad tracks on programs? Though, my long-suffering husband now refuses to watch even the least newsy newscast with me because he says I provide the mad track just fine without any prompting or prerecorded cues.

Anyway, where was I …

Oh yes… what brought this all to a frothy head this time was an impromptu luncheon/reunion with long-ago friends and classmates that had me stifling yawns so often I pulled a muscle in my nostril.

Through the haze of “remember whens” and “what are you doing nows,” I almost lost the will to live. It’s not that I’m not happy for my fellow alumni or that I don’t share their joy of living to this age after the youth most of us inflicted on ourselves. It’s that I clearly no longer have the stamina to endure what a real friendship requires. I don’t begrudge anyone an opportunity to crow about their life choices or the achievements of their offspring and grand-offspring … but I can only fake laughter, interest or empathy for just so long before my eyes glaze over and I drift off into fantasies about what it’d be like to be stranded on a remote tropical island somewhere far far away.

Obviously, the island would have to be one of those au fait islands with a health resort and jazz clubs and boutiques and little out-of-the-way restaurants (although how much more out of the way I’d need it to be on a remote island, I’m not sure, but you get my drift). I mean, I want isolation, not exile. I’m an old curmudgeon, not a cannibal!

Nonetheless, I’m finding that as I get older, I’m less engaged in what everyone else is doing and happier to be in my own little world. And when I say “little,” I’m talking small, minuscule – I’m almost my entire circle of acquaintances. I like being selfish with my time now. I like focusing on things that I enjoy and, for the most part, doesn’t involve having to involve others.

My better half has grown so used to my solitude that he now recognizes the signs and leaves me to my own resources when he can’t find me or does find me all alone, staring out a window with a faraway look on my face. He now knows that I’m “on my island” trying to decide whether or not to cover the floors of my mud hut with palm fronds or trek down to the ocean for a refreshing swim with the whatever swims in the oceans these days!

More often than not, when I drag myself away from such images, I find a Mai Tai on the table beside me. The only problem with that is that I’m never really sure if I got up to mix myself a drink while I was in my daydream state or if that saint of a man I’m married to would rather me be near sozzled when I finally rejoin him in real life to watch the evening news, muted, of course – me not the TV!

 

Be sure to follow me on twitter@anneashley57.

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