Monday, May 08, 2023

So many thoughts

I have a brain that is very busy all the time. What about you?

Meditation is helpful, it calms me and centres me and focuses me. As does knitting. 



I love me a good knit. Or taking photos or writing fiction, which takes me outside of myself. 

I look forward intensely to alone time. More than people time. I have never been able to manage small talk. When I was in public office I would wander around with a camera which worked like a charm to keep people at a distance. I never know what to say apart from a series of stock clich├ęs.

I live in a building which is full of small talk. I put on a nice face, being well practiced at my advanced age, and do my best, I remember things about people which soothes them. Like where they used to live and I ask about that. "Have you been back there recently?" Weather is a good coverup. And I range through my string of tropes and haul them out which seems to soothe others: inflation, weather, health status, weather, grandchildren, weather, new tenants, weather. 

I scan my list of internal topics of off limit stuff, climate change, Sudan, Ukraine, Somalia, floods, arctic collapse, rising sea levels and about a 100 more and shut my mouth. Along with the stuff I love to talk about, books, theatre, good films, art, seniors' concerns which usually draws a blank with most. Those I would chat to about such things are all gone to the great beyond of stardust.

One of the enormous voids of old age is losing those with whom we went to the opera or concerts or great theatre or a new showing at the galleries. Those who had this commonality of interests and could discuss such enhancing wonders with kindred spirits.

I imagine if one has a soulmate, old age is much more enhanced by shared interests but then again, if the soulmate dies it leaves one very unprepared for the loneliness and isolation to follow. So six of one and half dozen of the other.

I am so used to being alone and it's totally by choice as there were a few opportunities over the years to change that. I had a few great loves, one particularly of such depth and magnitude that I was only recently able to write about it in a memoir. He was definitely "The One" but there were far too many barriers in that time and place so very many years ago to take it further. 

I am grateful for so much in my life that often I find myself tearing up. I realize that any of us with family love and respect and living in the privilege that is Canada are so very fortunate and find myself crying openly at the child massacres in the US - the Gunster Capital of the world - and when the Ukrainians arrive on our island here with their hope and their pets and their little children, leaving everything they held dear in the appalling mess behind them.

A long post. I stop myself here as I could go on all day and never stop.



I never had to kiss the Blarney Stone. When I was a kid, I would ride out here on my bike from home, about five miles, and wait underneath, and pick up the coins from the tourist pockets as they bent over backwards to kiss it.


21 comments:

  1. Snap. Small talk is difficult (and I am bad at it). Alone time is an essential.
    I listen in unfamiliar/uncomfortable surroundings much more than I talk. Which is odd, because in the company of kindred spirits I talk a lot. Probably too much.

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    1. Your twin is here, I so wish we lived closer.
      XO
      WWW

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  2. "When I was a kid, I would ride out here on my bike from home, about five miles, and wait underneath, and pick up the coins from the tourist pockets as they bent over backwards to kiss it."

    Love this! Can just about see it.
    -Kate

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  3. As a former obsessive knitter, I have knit all of those cables you have pictured. They, and more were in a book that consisted only of pictures of patterns and directions knitting the patterns. I lent it to my youngest daughter and it was lost, along with my mother's crib and other things I treasured. As the years go by, I realized then was as good as now to let go.

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  4. How different our views of the Ukrainians who come now, compared to how my grandparents were treated: just two generations ago they were reviled, starved, given desperate land that was untillable, sent to slavery on the railroads, called Bohunks, beaten when they spoke their language to their brothers and sisters in school. Unfathomable, we Canadians. Emma

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    1. So very, very true Emma. And all those who were sent packing from the shores as well. Back to certain death. I am thinking particularly of the Jews as well. And now Haiti, its citizens desperate to escape.
      XO
      WWW


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  5. All of your "off limit " topics are things that concern me deeply but I don't talk about them because either people look at me like I'm a nut job or they take me seriously and we get bogged down in the hopelessness of it all.
    I once went away for a weekend with a friend of decades. The drive was about 4 hours. After an eight hour round trip I realised that her conversation ranged from niece and nephew to work to her fitness regime. It was a shock to me to realise we'd been friends all that time and I'd never noticed the limits of her conversation.
    I stumbled across the movie "Maudie" recently. I loved it and it was nice to know it had that connection to you, in Nova Scotia

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    1. Wasn't it a beautiful film Kylie, filmed in NS, yes, but produced by a friend of mine in Newfoundland.
      You remind me of a trip I took with a client/friend. Long car-ride also. My internal screaming started at mile one. All she could talk about was her house and all she planned and all she had done and colours and carpets. Then she moved on to her island cottage and I wanted to leap from the car.
      It's torture though I am aware that many find it comforting as they don't have to think. At all.
      XO
      WWW

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  6. All thw subjects you can no longer talk about are things I don't have a clue about, so I can't talk about things either. Small talk is difficult too, until I get to know a person and that takes time of course and what to talk about until then? This is why I stay home a lot. I thought I'd made a friend here in the flats, but she is very very religious. Her life revolves around going to church and Jesus or God is in every conversation.

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    1. I find religious people really difficult to converse with. I would much prefer a conversation about belief in God and debate about it, the whys and wherefores, the proofs, the logic, the science but no such luck. Usually.
      XO
      WWW

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  7. I'm a guy so maybe a little different. Our small talk is easy because it revolves around the activity we're doing -- golf, or the class we're taking or some such. Or else, as you point out, there's the weather and then our common maladies like bad knees, bad backs, back hearts. But too bad. I remember when we used to talk about ... girls!

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    1. I have four brothers so know a lot about guys and the "oops a feeling, avoid that" around emotional stuff :D Though I have to say they have opened up a lot more on our weekly Zoom meetings. We allow each other a little time each for our "organ recitals" - i.e. our health issues.
      XO
      WWW

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  8. I enjoyed your post and it certainly was not long. Mine are long for sure, but then I don’t post that often and I include many photos. I was a caregiver to my husband for 10 years while he had Alzheimer’s, so along those years most of the friends disappeared. The later years of his malady he could not talk much so I got used to be alone, I mean even though he was there in body. Now that I am alone since he passed, I don’t mind at all. I could not go out in many places with him in his last years, so now I go by myself. I went to the Opera and also the ballet in the last few months, and I also take road trips. I’d rather do that than speaking small talk with someone, just like you said. It is difficult to make new friends when you are a senior, and as mentioned above, old friends sometime have had different lives and interests and it’s hard to talk with them as well.

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  9. "climate change, Sudan, Ukraine, Somalia, floods, arctic collapse, rising sea levels and about a 100 more and shut my mouth. Along with the stuff I love to talk about, books, theatre, good films, art, seniors' concerns which usually draws a blank with most"
    YES! And if not a blank then denial, "It's their own fault", "Not in my backyard", "We can't do anything" ect.
    When it come to small talk, like so many other areas, I feel decidedly male. The things we do, how to do them, what to do next, family, and weather. Not really the "feelie" stuff.
    Life witnesses, that's what we're missing. People who lived through the same things we did, heard the same music, read the same books and so on. People who without a long explanation grasp the clue. I miss such company as well.

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  10. I love this post - it really resonates with me. I laughed at the image of you at the Blarney stone, benefitting from the tourists' small change!

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  11. I'm also hopeless at small talk and making casual chit-chat with complete strangers. I wish I was more of a chatterbox, though that can bring its own problems.

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  12. This post resonates though I am a generation or so younger. Many have gone and there are fewer who discuss what is important or who care for my view of things. Your blarney stone story made me chuckle!

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  13. I am so grateful to be able to read your blog, and your commenters' replies. I am definitely in the same boat. I live alone, and don't plan on ever changing that (unless I stumble across some kind of Golden Girls situation). All of my friends have moved to other parts of the country. I've always found small talk challenging and prefer to discuss the kinds of verboten things you mention. I've been concerned about the upcoming water crisis since the 1990s but have yet to find even a single person who cares to discuss it. They seem to think it's kind of a drag to talk about. Yeah, wait until the reality sets in! Talk about a drag. Anyway, thanks so much - I feel less alone due to your post.
    Nina

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