The little lad in the doctor’s waiting room is the chatty type. Indeed, his mother confides that he never, ever shuts up (her words, not mine.)
Me, I like Chatty People on the whole - provided they occasionally allow me to get a word in edgeways. I like to think I am a good listener but even the best listener finds it difficult to keep schtum all the time. This afternoon was
a case in point when the guy who came to clean my oven (I know, I know, I am very lazy) poured out his heart to me. Not being (or aspiring to be) an Agony Aunt, I simply didn’t know how to steer him towards the job in hand, as in, the cleaning of my
oven, and away from the difficulties in his personal life. “Shall I make you a cup of coffee?”I interjected as he finally paused for breath - but it turned out he had brought a flask along....
Anyway, I digress - let’s go back to the doctor’s waiting room where I am, well, waiting and filling in the time by chatting to the little lad sitting across the room from me. Then, in the midst of our somewhat
one-sided conversation (my new best friend does most of the talking, having rather more to say for himself than I) we are interrupted by the arrival of a mobility scooter, expertly driven by a rather splendid elderly fella with curly, grey, springy hair reaching
down below his shoulders.
My small pal clearly feels the new arrival will be a more interesting conversationalist than I have so far proved to be so he turns
his attention to the newcomer. “Why are you driving that?” he demands. Most of the occupants of the waiting room look up from their mobile phones to listen to the answer...
The Splendid Gent eyes the Inquisitive One impassively, then replies seriously: “Because I can!”
And in those three short
words he catapults me back seven and a half years to the day I retired from work, cantering off the corporate carousel and declaring to everyone who cared to listen that my new mantra, by which I would shape my days as a Lady of Leisure, was “Because
I Can!” I even wrote out a list of all the places I would go and the people I would visit in the days stretching out, seemingly endlessly, in front of me.
as it happens, doesn’t always turn out the way you think it will and Mr B’s failing health over the last six years or so has threatened to turn “because I can” into “sorry, I can’t.” Very few of the ideas on my list
of people and places have been ticked off, even though it was, to be honest, a fairly modest little list. I sit in the waiting room feeling just a little bit sorry for myself...
You will be pleased to hear that I quickly pulled myself together, reminding myself sternly that being sorry for oneself is Not A Good Look. Besides, think of all the things I can -and do - enjoy...
I can still do my best to create a little bit of magic when the younger grandchildren come to visit - for example, the Rascally Trio are coming this weekend and will want to check on the well-being of the Flowerpot People
since I consigned them to the back garden. (The Flowerpot People, not the Trio, don’t be silly.) I can still enjoy the company of the older grandchildren, especially when they remind me and their Grandad of all the fun we have had over the years.
I can take a precious hour or two out to sing in the choir, to attempt new crafty stuff, to try to win at cribbage, to ramble through beautiful countryside with my binoculars
trained, unseeing, on the trees where the birds twitter audibly at my inability to spot them without help from my fellow birders. Thanks to so many kind and caring friends I can manage the occasional longer outing and three or four times a year, with the help
of a live-in carer, I manage a weekend away where I spend my time sleeping in late of a morning and being royally looked after by one of my Foursome.
I can sit
with Mr B in the evenings watching TV and enjoying a glass of wine just like in the Old Days. We can laugh over the comedies, puzzle over the crime dramas, pretend to be antiques experts, challenge ourselves to become millionaires, and kid ourselves we might
try to improve the plating up of our dinners as we watch Masterchef Australia.
Life is what you make it, somebody very wise once said. So very true, that
is, and all the more so if, like me, you do your best to do whatever it is you do with joy.
Because I can...