I will walk the streets up
And I’ll walk the streets down.
I will see the fine ladies
Dressed in their silk gowns.
With my elbows all out
And my breeches without knees
You are the biggest vagabond that e’er I did see.
- - Steeleye Span, The Drunkard.
I used to sing this song to my child as a lullaby to put her to sleep when she was small. No wonder she has “issues”. What was I thinking? I had a completely unhelpful heart operation to straighten out my irregular hear rhythm. I can’t drink or have more than 3 potato chips without breaking out in flop sweat as my pulse races up to the low 140s, sometimes for days. Which sucks, but which I suppose is only fair given how I messed up the kid by singing such sick lullabies.
My Wikipedia page would read like Alice in Wonderland, except I don’t have a Wikipedia page. And this place is to Wonderland as a circus clown car is to a suitcase that fell out of a plane. By which I mean, non sequitur, yo.
Instead of taking a Viking Rhine River cruise like most retired boomers at this point in their smug lives, I’m thinking of taking a road trip this year, only I’ll call it a lecture tour. The 2015 Motel Six Philosophy of Disappointment Tour.
My mission statement for 2015 is not going to be “suck it, bitches” because that didn’t work out so well for me in ’14. Perhaps “Less carbs, more gummy bears”? Or: My life blows so much that I put the air in despair. Need to work on that: a little more redemption and a little less gloom.
For the new year, I usually try to re-do my “about” page to make my life more interesting. Each year, this becomes more of an exercise in distinguishing my real life from that imaginary life down the rabbit hole, past the orange marmalade jar, and into the land where I hop rides on passing trains and travel with benevolent hobos to quaint and colorful places where I can depend entirely on the kindness of strangers.
Each year it becomes more of an exercise in ignoring the Elephant of Cognitive Dissonance in the room that looms between my drab actual life and the imaginary and vibrant life I had always intended to lead. I think this year I’ll survive the coming apocalypse by finding a nice quiet bunker filled with gummy bears and books I’ve been meaning to read. I joined a gym and I already feel better, so that’s good, right?
My backstory needs some more color too. As a recently widowed crone, whose dearly beloved passed out of my life and into assisted living in 2013, but who didn’t die until last month, I’m having trouble saying things like how I miss his support when something goes wrong with the infrastructure of this old house/yard. I mean, I can say such things, because shit is always going wrong here at the Fortress of Attitude. But it’s hard to say it with a straight face.
I at least have the deadly serious lesson learned from his death: you have to re-arrange your memories in non-chronological order in order to grieve properly. The man I married was a wonderful person, and it makes me very sad he’s gone. But he’s been long gone. The sick old man who died was a shell of that wonderful man. Too bad – so sad, as my sister once said.
So that happened. At least we got to say goodbye.