Saturday, January 21, 2017

Thermodymanics:We All Lose

     I was eating a nice slice of apple pie -- ala mode, in this case vanilla gelato -- and the crust was okay, better than okay, but as I thought back to my childhood, thinking of sugar cream pie, vinegar cream pie and other delights, I muttered, "I've had better."  And then I added, "...But I never will again."

     I won't.  The women who baked those pies are gone.  Home-made pie crust is a very individual thing, something that takes a knack, experience and the right kind of working area.  No one's pie crust turns out quite like anyone else's.

     Sometime the sadness at these little, inconsequential things can be overwhelming.  Pie crust!   And yet I'm moved to tears.

     All but one of my Mother's sisters are gone (and there was a passel of them).  All of my Dad's siblings and their spouses are gone.  My sister is quite a skilled baker but we're not close.  We're not friends and, for many reasons, we're not going to be; this is no reflection on her, we just can't get along.  It's best we don't try.

     And so it goes.  Most of my friends and co-workers are gone.  Many of them are dead now.  I miss them.  I don't make friends easily and as I have gotten older, my emotional distance has increased.  My hearing has become worse, which doesn't help. I have never been really relaxed around others -- I was the odd child, the one who used too many long words, who struggled to be neat and tidy, always askew, out of step.  I grew out of it but I'm always wary, waiting to be called out.  Any more, the social anxiety occasioned by most restaurants or a crowded theater is too much to face alone; if it weren't for Tam, her friends and my pal the Data Viking, I'd never eat out.  I can manage the market, the bank and the five and dime, as long as they're places I have already been to or chain-stores with similar layouts: it's pretty formulaic.

     It's not going to get any better.  We all face it to a greater or lesser extent: friends and relations thin, the popular figures of our youth and early adulthood fade away and many are largely forgotten.  As time goes by, there's less and less familiar, more and more alien, and eventually, you're all alone even in a crowd.

     The Greeks had it right: immortality would be a curse.


FishStyx said...

Roberta, take some solace in the fact that your post just described what I've also been feeling for the last few years and haven't quite been able to quite put a finger on.
It blows.
Gettin' old sucks!
I don't recommend it and feel it should be avoided whenever possible.
With that said...keep in mind that we all only have a short time on this rock.
Enjoy what you can and be a thorn in the side of as many douchebags as possible! ;)
Keep the faith, Sister!

fillyjonk said...

I hear you. A lot of my friends are a good bit older than I am. I've lost a few already and it's really hard.

Also, my parents - with whom I am close - are in their 80s and have had some health challenges. (Most recent: my mom taking a fall on the ice and bruising ribs badly).
I actually wound up, over Christmas, having to do the pies because she was hurting at that point and yes - I can't make decent pie crust. Oh, my parents both said it was fine but it wasn't fine.

My own mortality doesn't worry me nearly so much as that of all the people I care about; I don't want to be left here all alone.

Roberta X said...


JimBob said...

I still like you....

Countglockula said...

Other posters have covered it well. Aging sucks, and particularly so when one leads a relatively solitary life, with few friends, and fewer places to go. Once you've passed three score and ten, your world shrinks mightily, and consists mostly of Walmart and the doctor's office.

Interesting about siblings though. While I have no rivalry with my sister, I haven't spoken to her in over twenty years and will likely not on this side of the ground. We just never really connected.

Friendship, in the true sense, is to be greatly treasured as the years advance. In this sense, you are very fortunate to have those around you. Keep them close.


RandyGC said...

Another member of the club here.

One of the good things about the intrawebz is the ability to, if not make friends, at least strike up friendly acquaintances with folks with similar interests and experiences.

Will said...

My father, back in his 70's, had lamented that he had gone through 3 generations of friends.
He could make friends anywhere. One example: Took up teaching in his 50's, and ended up helping set up a vocational school in Egypt. While there, he walked into a business that looked interesting, and asked to talk to the boss. They became best friends.
He was able to talk to anyone, anywhere. He loved meeting new people. His kids, not so much. Most of us have some degree of Asperger's, it seems. Sigh...

Mike V. said...

I've heard it said that we as a species are social creatures, kinda like dogs. In general I think that's true but some of us are loners, much like the lobos of the canine world. We are wired differently, I think. I and many others understand how you feel because we're loners too

Joseph said...

It sounds like other people's mortality is the curse.

This also explains why some people try to slow down change. OTOH, using the One State to slow down change is like using the One Ring...

Anonymous said...

Yet you've managed to connect with a remarkable number of people. It's rather one-way--from you to us--but it seems to be working for you on some level, or you wouldn't keep at it.

A lot of us feel disconnected, and more disconnected with age. The only reversal of that for me was my marriage 16 months ago. When I'm optimistic I think, "I wish I knew Roberta in person", but when I look at it we probably don't have all that much in common, and I'd probably end up annoying you after a while (same with Tam, I think).

It is depressing at times (especially in winter), and I'm acutely aware of how different I am from most of the people I meet, but then I remember that I really don't like most of those people either, and being forced to relate to them more would be worse than being isolated.

Just know that we're all sorta here for you, in our own curmudgeonly capacities.