Sunday, October 07, 2012

Beware of Helplessness

As I have concluded the Presidential election is little more than a farce organized and engineered by the banks and corporations I have found it increasingly difficult to even bother to blog about it. My attitude has not been helped by the recent death of my wife which I have found to be increasingly depressing as the days go by.

I do not want anyone to think my remarks here are intended to be complaints, they merely reflect what I am finding to be the realities of unexpected calamities. I do not think the word calamity is too strong to describe the unexpected and basically unfair demise of a perfectly healthy, strong, and gifted woman who was much younger than her surviving spouse. This was not the way it was supposed to be.

My main problem as a survivor of this terrible injustice is that I am so helpless. Throughout virtually all of my adult life I have been surrounded by secretaries, administrative assistants, research associates, graduate students, and much more importantly, wives. These wonderful assets have been immeasurably valuable and much appreciated, but they have also helped to render me virtually helpless. I find I do not know how to do almost anything, and I am having to learn even the most basic survival skills. I find driving anywhere beyond the the mile and a half to the city dump or the three miles to town uncomfortable, as my wife has always driven everywhere else, especially any long distances. I did not know how to use the washer/dryer and had to be schooled by my daughter-in-law. I even have trouble using the microwave that I basically despise, my wife’s stove, with gas burners but an electric oven , plus a convection, self-cleaning feature I find overly complicated. Making the bed I can more or less handle as I was once in the army, but I did not know where she kept the sheets and pillow cases. Similarly, I don’t know even yet where she keeps tablecloths and such. We have a fine new barbecue and a Bradley smoker, neither of which I have ever used and will have to learn. I know, I know, these things are not that complicated, but when someone else has always used them and you have not they are foreign machines that threaten your basic competence. Fortunately I do know how to cook passably well, but certainly not up to the level of my wife. I am finding ingredients and foodstuffs in the pantry and freezer that I never heard of before.

Even so these basic day-to-day physical matters of living are relatively easy to learn or re-learn as the case may be. But I am even more helpless when it comes to other matters, such as computers, for example. Other than being able to write a blog I know nothing about these infernal machines. If something goes wrong with one, my wife always managed to take care of the problem. I’m not even confident I can change the ink cartridge in the printer. I’m pretty sure I can manage to learn that but there is no way I will ever be able to do anything else when it comes to the computers. Similarly, I know nothing whatsoever about our medical insurance, our time shares, Airline miles, her online book business, even our family histories, and so on.

I was, of course, always well-intentioned, I really meant to learn all these things, but procrastination really is the thief of time and I never did. I never asked anyone to do something I would not do myself, but not ever having to do things is not the same as actually doing them. In certain respects my wife was not much better. She said for years she would have to learn about our domestic expenses, how much we spent, for what, and so on, including what she would need to know then something happened to me, but she never did. Of course it is all moot now. It wasn’ t supposed to be this way. My wife was a great deal younger than me, I always expected to go first, even by several years, but it was not to be. It was all terribly unfair, unexpected, and unprepared for. We lived quite happily together for almost thirty years, blissfully ignoring the possibilities that might befall us, unprepared for disaster, well-intentioned but in a form of (I guess lazy) perennial denial.

I repeat, this is not meant to be complaining about what happened or the current situation, and I know this is by no means a unique experience as similar things have happened to my friends. It is clearly my own fault, I should have paid more attention to my life and the possibilities in store for me. I sincerely hope that others may do better.

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