arteejee

A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Sunday, October 25, 2015

At 56



Confession: ever since childhood, I had the notion that I would most likely suffer a fatal heart attack at the age of 55. Of course back then the double nickel seemed like it was a thousand years away, and I figured I would have plenty of time to live a good life in the meantime.

Just goes to show you how quickly a thousand years can fly by…

In any case, I felt compelled in the last year to tell those closest to me — for example, my oldest friend Janey, and this woman sitting in my living room for the last 23 years for another — about my childhood notion. I had wanted to give those closest to me some sort of warning in case my feelings of mortality came true on time. Well, one thing led to another — called day-to-day living — and it ended up that I never got around to telling anyone.

Just as well, because I didn’t die, although my blog writing has been gasping on life support for several months.

I turned 56 at the beginning of a wonderful long weekend; we don’t do vacations anymore, just long weekends. We spent the weekend with friends in Delaware, walked around Rehoboth Beach despite or just to spite our arthritic backs/knees, and generally broke up our routines with the change in scenery.

I found Rehoboth Beach to be a nice little town on the sea. This weekend was the first long block of time I had spent there. I had passed through it at other times without stopping for a long period beyond a lunch with friends a few years ago.

I actually believed it could be a nice place to live someday, but then I realized that I was seeing it in the off season. This is a beach town after all, and their livelihood depends on the in-season tourist traffic. No, my blood pressure would most likely not withstand the stress of the tourist scene.

So this landmark birthday was celebrated at Dos Locos in Rehoboth Beach with a pitcher of sangria shared with Warrior Queen, and capped with a nice free dessert, a sombrero on my head and a chorus of Happy Birthday from members of the Dos Locos wait staff. Obviously, someone (Mark, I'm looking at you!) blabbed about my birth date to the restaurant management. 
 
In past years, I would try to keep my celebration a secret whenever I dined out on my birthday. I would see this display of congratulations showered on other diners and I imagined that I would die of embarrassment if it ever happened to me. Good news: I didn’t die of embarrassment when it finally happened and it was all over before I realized it. Besides, the dessert — a few scoops of ice cream and chocolate sauce in a tortilla shell - was very good. 
  
My 23rd anniversary with Warrior Queen happened in the middle of this weekend. I gave her a gift card for her favorite nail salon and a gag gift: a bell which she could ring to hasten the delivery of her morning “happy juice” (i.e., coffee). I intended it to be a gag, but alas, the joke has been on me. Warrior Queen has used it every day since she got it and every day her coffee magically appears. It appears instantly through my pre-planning, starting the coffee maker, and preparing her cup with the proper amount of artificial sweetener and non-dairy creamer. 
  
This might not sound like much, but making coffee for someone else can be a lot of work when you’re still trying to wake up yourself. But in the end it is a labor of love.

So I am waking up again at 56. My past 55 years was one side of my life. This side of my life will mean going back to the routines of the old life: daily coffee making,   exercise on the stationary bicycle (interrupted weeks ago by the pain of arthritis in the knees), and of course earning a living. The long weekend is over and it’s now time to get back to everyday living which I hope to keep doing for many years to come.  

(Thank you for reading and…oh, there’s that bell again. Coming, dear!)

13 Comments:

Blogger Raybeard said...

Well, at least you had others to share your big day with - even if some of them caused you to blush. Look on the positive side - you're relatively 'youthful' (if you'll allow the definition to be stretched a little), and I know someone who'd give 13 years of his life to be your age.
But I know how you feel about your childhood thoughts on getting to your present age. It seemed an eternity away, didn't it? When I was a nipper I'd see myself at my present age as my then great-uncle, white-haired and shuffling with a pronounced stoop. Now I'm here - actually still dark-thatched though slower in ambulations - it's not much fun seeing one's capabilities diminish yet mentally as young as a 20-year old.

Anyway, what is life but a preparation for when the BIG bell tolls for us?
Heigh-ho!

October 25, 2015 at 11:18 AM  
Anonymous Janey said...

Just to clarify: by "oldest friend" Todd does not mean that I am the most chronologically ancient of his social circle. Indeed, Todd is a month older than I am, for my birthday is Nov. 27 (Gift hints: I collect vintage Fiesta Ware, and drink lots of Pinot Grigio now that my doctor tells me that I can no longer smoke the "medicinal" marijuana I have consumed (purely for health reasons -- wait!-- now you're telling me it gets one high???) for decades.

Todd I met in August 1977 at what was then Bloomsburg State College. We were both successful in our auditions for Concert Choir; he in the tenor section, and I was seated across the aisle where the men with manly voices (sorry, Todd) were seated. (I am a baritone, but after years of pot smoking I sound like Darth Vader in need of a Xanax.)

Todd and I have been friends for decades, and I join in celebrating that his "double nickel" prediction did not come true. Many of things we did in college could have killed us (details retained until the statute of limitations expires), but here we are, Todd Baby, still ALIVE!!!!

Onward to 60!
Love, Janey
PS: Really? Warrior Queen rings a fuckin' bell and you fetch coffee?

October 25, 2015 at 1:10 PM  
Anonymous Roger said...

Happy Birthday ..... 🎉🎊👑🎂🎉🎊🎉👑

October 25, 2015 at 3:10 PM  
Blogger anne marie in philly said...

"Warrior Queen rings a fuckin' bell and you fetch coffee?" - damn str8 (or gay) he does!

October 25, 2015 at 3:34 PM  
Blogger Bob Slatten said...

Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary all rolled into one.
Carlos was gifted me with the "joke" of a bell and I've yet to set it down!

October 25, 2015 at 4:23 PM  
Blogger todd gunther said...

Dear Raybeard, thank you for the comment. I just hope there's more meaning to our existence than waiting for the BIG bell to ring.

Yes, Janey, Warrior Queen rings a bell and I jump. Welcome to my world!

Thank you Roger for the birthday wishes.

Thank you Bob for the wishes of our double events.

October 28, 2015 at 7:06 AM  
Anonymous Janey, The One Who Fetches No One's Coffee said...

RTG, I believe that if you Google the term "pussywhipped", you'll find your photo there!

October 28, 2015 at 2:41 PM  
Blogger anne marie in philly said...

janey girl, you're fibbing; you would fetch coffee for YOUR MOM!

October 29, 2015 at 7:22 PM  
Blogger todd gunther said...

The coffee bell! A perfect Christmas gift for Mar!

October 29, 2015 at 9:06 PM  
Blogger Fearsome Beard said...

All my best for your 56th! And to your knees as you answer the bell....

October 31, 2015 at 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Janey (Don'r Ring No Fuckin" Bell at Me!) said...

Mom still has the bell she used to ring to call her kids back to the house for dinner. Now that we live together again, she jokingly threatened to use it to summon we when needed. I less jokingly threatened to move out.

October 31, 2015 at 11:12 AM  
Blogger todd gunther said...

Thank you Fearsome Beard for your wishes. And my knees thank you, too.

OK, Janey, if Mom already has a bell, then we won't get her another one.

October 31, 2015 at 7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm having a 'look through your archives' as it were and your opening paragraph reminds me of how my father always used to tell us (usually while in a drunken stupor, which was often) that he was going to die at age 45. I was 7/8 years old when he reached that age and I remember thinking that entire year that he was going to keel over at any moment. He's now 83.

~ Freckles

January 11, 2016 at 9:50 PM  

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