Thursday, February 07, 2008

Counting M&Ms and Findings Buttons

Funny title... I know. But you'll get it soon enough.

The answer growing was was never "go outside and play." My mother worked nights until I was 7 and worked days after that so was never home during the long summer days when you might hear a mother answer "go play outside" when a kid was bored. It was never the answer. Outdoors was not a reward for us small city kids. It was where we went when there was a slight breeze that made it cooler than the stifling heat of the un-air conditioned apartment we lived in. Cooling off involved sitting in metal tubs that only accommodated a body when scrunched up with knees to chin filled with cold water. To date, I have never climbed a tree.

Adventure took on a whole new meaning in my house. My sister roller skated up and down the High Street sidewalk crashing and colliding way too often for me to take skate key in hand. (You young readers are wondering "what the hell is a skate key?" Google it.) Adventure to me was locating 5 matching buttons from the button box when my mother was sewing something. Hey, that could take all afternoon for a bored kid. While my sisters were voracious readers, adventure to me was setting M&Ms out in a row in front of the tv (that I sat 2 feet in front of on the floor),ordering them by color, eating them in conscious fashion of comparative numbers, no color having more than the other while watching Gilligan's Island or Brady Bunch. Adventure was filling up jugs of water when the Water Company called to tell us that they were turning off the water for failure to pay the bill. What an adventure. Adventure was crossing the main street in town to catch the city bus for school each morning. This Feb 28th will mark the 40th anniversary of the day I got hit by a car on that adventure. See, I wasn't too good at some of those adventures.

But going outside was never the solution to being bored for a kid like me. Going outside meant more allergies, more asthma, more sunburns. You young readers can't imagine life before air conditioning or antihistamines, but I was a miserable walking snot ball as a child because of the grasses, weeds, and trees. You never closed the windows in the summer because there was no air conditioning so I suffered greatly as a child. Plus, living downtown we had few neighbor kids to start of a game of softball or basketball or stickball. And if you recall, that street was far too busy to play in. My sisters and I did not take up the cause of Title IX which guaranteed girls' participation in sports. My big protest was staging a sit-in to allow girls to wear slacks to school when I was in 8th grade. I got sent home but felt victorious in my rebellion, and I'd like to consider it an adventure, but we all know it didn't call for athletic prowess. Oh, gym class. Don't even get me started. Gym in grade school meant tetherball, which I was pretty good at (You basically stand still for this "sport.") And do you remember that torturous goddamn rope bolted to the ceiling of the gymnasium? Who invented that torture device.

So what's my point? I am not an athlete, never was and never aspired to be. (I was the kid in grade school who promised to do your homework if you would bat for me.) Didn't join sports teams, growing up with sisters in a city environment. Never played outside as an answer to "What can I do today, Mom?" So I find myself in love with a man whose middle name is "outdoors," who lives for adventure, who wants to spend the rest of his life moving, going, doing and wants a partner to do those things with. Half the things he mentions, like hiking, swimming, sailing, I have never tried or desired to try. The other half, like skiing, skating, horseback riding, I have tried with disastrous results. Horrible experiences. And now he ponders ... is love enough? Will I ever be good enough? Will I be nothing more than a disappointed left behind? I contend I am willing to try, but at 50, is that a pipe dream? Or a hip waiting to break?

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At 11:40 AM, Blogger having my cake said...

You'll never know until you've tried. Taking up martial arts in my 40s was the most liberating thing I have ever done. New challenges broke down all the boundaries I had erected for myself. And who better to try new things with than a new man? How about you find something that he has never done and try learning it together rather than you being the novice and he the professor in everything?

At 11:40 AM, Blogger Sailor said...

I wont repeat what I said before- but I'll send you lots of hugs, and remind you that you are where you're supposed to be, as is he.

Trust and faith, as best we can.

Failing that, need sailing lessons? ;)

At 10:23 PM, Blogger RONJAZZ said...

Don't you worry. People are amazingly versatile when they need to'll be fine. Besides, hip replacements are a dime a dozen, and it'll add some sashay to your already-gorgeous countenance.

At 3:55 PM, Blogger Marianna said...

It's funny that you blogged this when you did ~ just the other day, I was thinking to myself that my Mom & then later when I had to go live with my Dad ~ both did a disservice to us kids. Not one of us has an athletic bone in our bodies. It would be nice if I had been a part of a sport (or even theatre, etc), but now I feel so sluggish ~ I can't imagine starting so late in life either!


At 6:33 AM, Blogger C-Marie said...

Found you via another fav blog I read... and I've been enjoying the read!

You can do anything you want or not. (age has nothing to do with any of it) give it a whirl and have a blast!

At 7:41 PM, Blogger Im A Foto Nut said...

A better way to look at this may be, at our ages change is hard at best. Knowing that, neither of you will likely be able to Change for the other. That leaves two choices then.

1. He does his thing while you do yours, or

2. you work at finding a compromise where you can do some of the things he likes if he is willing to not me mister adventure 24/7.

In my last relationship I found I was relegated to second place more often than not when it came to athletics. Everything was wonderful when we worked out together, or I was able to change my schedule to fit with hers. However, I found the only time she was willing to leave her kids with a sitter was when she was running in a marathon, or Corporate Challenge, et al. But when I asked her to find a sitter for one night so we could talk about our relationship, or just spend some adult time together, then she wouldn't because she needed to be with her kids.

I guess what I am saying is that he is who he is, so you will need to except that knowing you will have to become far more adventurous than you are used to, Or realize that while you have a great time together your lifestyles are too different to mesh and part before you are unable to.

Just my two cents. You can tell me to take a shit in the lake if you want.

At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are who you are.
Try those things he likes and if you don't like them, he'll have to be happy for you to watch or he will have to find someone else.
Please tell FOTO NUT not to poop in the doesn't seem like the right thing to do!

Linda B


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