Sometimes, when a bunch of people gather, I can't help but listen for Blog Fodder. It's not that I'm looking for something to criticize or poke fun at so much as I am--in a Seinfeldian manner--observing things that I can comment upon from a "did you ever notice" perspective. It's like looking at an ordinary drop of rainwater under a highpowered microscope. So much more there than the first look affords.
I belong to two retiree lunch bunches because I taught at two schools in my district. Even though I taught at a junior high only one year, they are gracious enough to include me in their monthly group, and I like their company. Of course, I also attend my high school's monthly lunches. At both, I generally order a bloody mary and settle in for some chatting. In addition to gossip about colleagues or district business, the conversation always comes down to two familiar topics: travel and what everyone is doing to promote health and longevity. If there was such a thing as a Dr. Oz Cruise, these groups would book immediately. I know who is taking flaxseed and chia seed every day, who is using only gluten free products, who is swearing by glucosamine, and who orders everything online from Puritan's Pride. I know that Dr. Bragg's Raw Apple Cider Vinegar With The Mother is the only apple cider vinegar with true health benefits. Oh, and do you want to take a river cruise? Well, forget it. They book so far out now, that it's impossible to plan one any earlier than 2015, and you had better forget the "Downton Abbey" one. That one is sold out for the foreseeable future. Carnival Cruises are just so noisy--too many kids and young people--but you can book a quieter one on Princess or Holland America. But--sigh--it's just sad how some lines treat their employees, who are all foreign nationals. Try to tip them well, if you can. There are horror stories out there that are just awful.
Listening to travel stories is one of my joys. If I can't go, then I want to hear about when you went, and if you have some pictures, even better. My colleagues are generous with their travel stories, and they give good recommendations regarding cruise lines, travel agents, places to see, and places that aren't really worth a stop. They will even give you their guides, books, or anything else that they have that might be of help. The problem is, they never sound very impressed or happy about where they went. I always get the idea that they went in order to have gone, to simply cross it off their list or something.
They get far more exercised when talking about their use of wellness products. I understand. Ten years ago, I didn't think twice about any of that. Now, however, my hair keeps getting greyer. My hands and knees truly hurt with arthritis. My vision prescription changed for the worse, and I have a hard time driving at night. It all seems very unfair to me. That stuff is for Old People. I'm not Old. Then I think about the Simple Arithmetic of it. I have far more years behind me than I am likely to have ahead of me. It's natural to want to tip the scales more in the other direction.
The whole thing makes me feel confused and guilty. Should I be taking supplements, chia, flax, wheat germ, green tea, fiber powder, and shots of vinegar (With The Mother)? How do I know? Every time I watch a little of Dr. Oz, he tells me to eat something else to lose weight. If I ate all of that stuff, I'd weigh 200 pounds. Should I get a Neti pot, or will I collapse and die from a brain-eating fungus? Rick and I eat very little meat now compared with how much we used to eat, and at least three days a week, we eat vegetarian. I start my day with Greek yogurt or a spinach and strawberry smoothie. I use olive oil only. Should I start oil pulling?
Let me say this: I liked it so much better when I was young and talked about makeup and boys. Or when I was a mom and talked about sleep habits and spit-up. Or even when I was in my thirties and talked about work, teenage attitude, and my shoes. And let me also say this: I am deep-bone tired of this winter. It has made me old. Older. Elderly. Aged. Aged and in need of Spring.