Hello, Dear Reader. It’s early afternoon here in New Hometown, Florida on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. It’s a mild late winter day by Florida standards; the temperature is 71˚F (22˚C) under partly sunny skies. With humidity at 68% and the wind blowing from the west-northwest at 11 MPH (19 KM/H), the feels-like factor is 71˚F (22˚C). The forecast for today calls for scattered rain showers and a high of 74˚F (23˚C). Tonight, skies will be mostly clear and the low will be 54˚F (12˚C).
Well, in two days I will observe my 58th birthday. I’m not overly enthused about it, but not for the “oh, I’m going to be 60 years old in 2023” or any pondering-my-own-mortality reasons. I long ago had to come to terms with the fact that we are all mortal, and although I have no desire to “shuffle off this mortal coil” any time soon, the thought of dying doesn’t depress me as much as it used to.
Rather, I’m dreading my upcoming birthday because it is going to be spectacularly dull and not a festive occasion.
There are two reasons for this.
First, the global pandemic that has gripped the planet for a year now hasn’t gone away, so even if things were fine between The Caregiver and I as far as our personal relations are concerned, we could not go, say, to Walt Disney World or Disney Hollywood Studios like we have done twice since I moved here almost five years ago. We can afford it, that much I know, but going to a theme park and worrying about the virus, fretting about our masks, and all the attendant hassles of pandemic etiquette seems to be more nerve-wracking than a fun experience.
I ought to know, because when the Caregiver and I went to Hollywood Studios – to see the Galaxy’s Edge part of Hollywood Studios, mostly – we were both overly conscious of coronavirus and being at a crowded theme park. And trust me, it’s nearly impossible to have fun in a crowded theme park while worrying if another park visitor’s coughs or sneezes will send you to the hospital ICU…or the morgue!
The second reason is self-explanatory and has already been alluded to: last year I was in a romantic relationship, albeit a somewhat dysfunctional one; this year I am not. QED.
I already know that we aren’t going anywhere special for dinner – again, thank you, COVID, anti-mask idiots, and former President Trump! – and I deeply suspect that if I get a gift from my Caregiver, it probably won’t be something that’ll bowl me over.
Blech. Friday, March 5, 2021 is going to be another Pandemic Blursday, on par with my 52nd birthday, which was the last birthday I spent at my old house whilst my mom was still alive.
No, scratch that. My 52nd birthday was definitely far worse. Consider:
My mom was still alive and, miraculously, was not so far gone re her memory and she remembered my birthday. And she even told me to order something I wanted for my birthday from Amazon. (I did; I ended up choosing the Blu-ray of Tora! Tora! Tora!) But tensions between my older half-sister and I were high and growing incredibly intense, so both of us were not on our best behavior. Vicky didn’t exactly go out of her way to make my birthday festive, although she did give me a book I had asked her to get me. (I gave Vicky the DVD of Frozen for her birthday, which was and still is five days after mine.)
I was tired, dreadfully so. Taking care of a sick elderly person is taxing on the body and the mind, and even though I had help from home health aides paid for by the state of Florida, I still had to deal with a million details re the townhouse – paying bills, getting repairs to the fence from the homeowners’ association (HOA), food shopping, and coping with an older half-sister who was more of a hindrance to me and the home health aides than she was helpful – that took up most of my waking hours.
And because I couldn’t trust Vicky with the house and family heirlooms in my absence – one out-of-town-trip in 2011 taught me that she would take advantage of my absence and do shady stuff – I could not go away from the townhouse for a week’s respite from the daily grind and depression of being a caregiver for a dying parent.
In that respect, even a Blursday in New Hometown is far, far better than that day in Anno Horriblis 2015. At least here I don’t have to deal with a narcissistic and greedy half-sibling, and I will be giving myself a couple of birthday presents, including a paperback edition of The Complete Making of Indiana Jones: The Definitive Story Behind All Four Films by J.W. Rinzler and Laurent Bouzerau, as well as the 4K UHD version of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.
Perspective. It’s all in the perspective.
Well, it’s been nearly 90 minutes since I started this post, and since I don’t have much to add, I’ll just close for now. So,, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.
 But while death in general is not something that bothers me, the manner in which I go from being to not being does. For instance, I don’t want to die alone, which is one of the reasons why I’m kind of glad that getting on the Section Eight waiting list is so tedious and thus is a disincentive – at least for me. At least here I have people – and Sandy the Wonder Schnauzer – around me. I’m not sure that I’m wired emotionally to live alone in a city that I’m unfamiliar with.
Another concern I have about death: I don’t want to die like my mother did; wasting away physically and mentally in a hospital-style bed in a small, enclosed space because I can’t get up and move around on my own. Mom had the ill-fortune to need an operation for her spine late in life (at age 82) and though at first she seemed to have recovered well from that ordeal, her advanced age and six hours under anesthesia must have triggered the dementia that ate away at her cognitive skills and her resolve to get well. She lingered for five years, but by July of 2015, her body and soul wore out and she died on July 19, 2015. I really don’t want to go that way.