January 9, 2017 (Monday)

by Yule Heibel on January 8, 2018

Arctic. Cold. Dry. Frost on the inside of window panes that aren’t doubled. We have three windows like that, and each year I think, “We really should do something about it.” Two are very small windows, with leaded glass panes. The third is trickier: staircase window, arched, and rather large. A solid storm door on the front door would be good, too, as the house shifting and settling over the many decades has allowed small gaps to open up – and weather stripping, we learned when the insulation professionals were here, won’t work or can’t be applied because of the actually very good way the door was built to fit the frame, with grooves and such. A solid storm door, or else one of those thick, thick curtains the British had in their old houses, hung on the inside – that would work, though.

W. is sick today, not going in to work. We both had this nasty cold, which we thought we got from A., but then speculated it may have been something we picked up at the party the night before New Year’s Eve. I’m pretty much over that, but now W. seems to have something, too. Me, I just have a headache from this life-on-hold feeling. I agreed to meet B. at 10 for a coffee, but wasn’t enthusiastic about it to start with, and now that it’s so cold, I wonder if I should cancel and just stay home. On the other hand, I was stuck indoors all day yesterday aside from shoveling (ditto Saturday, aside from taking A. to the airport and doing my late evening shoveling), and I’m just about ready to implode from a case of cabin fever.

I got W. to start reading the Designing Your Life book, about which I was (am?) so excited, but while he began reading it and agreed it was good, I’m getting the feeling – again – that this will be yet another thing that goes nowhere. Things will look really bleak and weird for us if we don’t start planning, and we instead find ourselves x-number of years from now with certain supports fallen by the wayside and every day becoming like the last few days have been, just stuck on the North Shore, with no fulfilling social life and no meaningful work. It does make me question the viability of staying put here, because I find it so difficult and impossible to find people I feel really in tune with on some higher level. For example, B., whom I’m supposed to meet today, is very nice, but she’s …boring. Perhaps worse, I think she might think I’m the interesting or exotic one, which puts me into the position of “entertaining” her. I don’t want entertainment, I want intellectual stimulation, brain food, nourishment. The latter is of course something I got regularly on my walks and talks with A., which is why, perhaps, I’m feeling the absence so acutely. And interestingly, A. doesn’t find any people around here who satisfy that criterion for him. Except me. Which is not such a great scenario…

An evening update, unscheduled: My coffee date with B. was surprisingly interesting, even if it didn’t shift my position too much. Over coffee we talked about how hard it is to make friends and develop a social circle once you hit a certain age and aren’t going to a job every day. Surprisingly, B. feels she’s in the same boat as I am, and I’m starting to think that a lot of us are. And yet, even as we sat there talking about isolation and not knowing people, LD. came by to say hello. And then, blast from the past, DH., a woman I knew back when we had au pairs to look after our kids while we worked, recognized me. We chatted for a while, and she mentioned LB. (I got the impression they’re still in touch), which all made me realize that I do in fact know quite a few people in town. It was almost a sign, or kismet, after all my bitching about social isolation. So, interesting coffee, curious little jog. Sadly, none of this fulfills my deeper need for meaningful (in my terms) human interaction.

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