If I had a partner, a husband, or kids at home, I would be distracted by so much I wouldn’t see as much. The sheer logistics of getting people from here to there, moving through six different schedules, someone always with a radio or a TV or a computer on somewhere takes away from the powers of observation. A person gets caught up in that which is not their own.
But I do not. For right now the things that I love about being single are many. I spend my day caring for people with very special needs that require great focus and patience. Having spent that season of my life where you devote two decades to other people’s needs and can barely answer the question, "How are you?" because you are so not in touch with your own needs , I’m more than ready for now when I walk in the door and say, "I’m going to have popcorn for dinner". I’m ready to make all the choices about what DVD gets put into the player and where the furniture is going to go. High tide and low tide ( clutter, no clutter) can be completely dealt with in less than an hour because it’s all my crap and I don’t have to convince anyone it’s time to pick it up.
It’s possible to drive to the Tulip Festival on a whim without any coordination of anything.
You can say yes to last minute invitations to go do fun things.
There are three downsides to being single. The first is being sick. Throwing up alone is no fun. If there is no one to bring the cup of tea or ice chips and you have to get up and get them yourself, odds are you go without.
The second downside is dancing. There’s no one to go dancing with if you are actively being single and not just single at home.
The third thing is that there is no one to help you put your socks on. If you’re like me and have an injury that limits your hip rotation then it’s darn hard to get that right sock on.
One day the frustration with not wearing socks as a default became too much. I’m a very strong person who can go a long time with inconvenience and deprivation but my desire to have socks on over ruled my long honed patient temperament to the point that I sat down at the computer and googled ‘socking putting on thingy’. Up popped a medical aid site and there it was. Three long toed apparatus that looked like, for $14.95, it would do the job. It was worth a shot. I ordered it.
A few days later, a flexible plastic device with silk on the inside and terry cloth on the outside and two long muslin strips arrived in the mail.
It is my chalice of new life. The first time I fitted one of my socks around those long prongs and drew it up over my foot and my toes and heel were warm and my shoes felt comfortable was nirvana. Bliss. Heaven. Relief.
I’ve been pondering this week, a lot, how long we’re meant to put up with discomfort. I’ve always been considering what it means to stand up for ourselves or yield to another’s woundedness. I keep coming back to the sock putting on thingy. I walk better, am a better steward of my shoes, have better health and a more appropriate gait when I have socks on.
Maybe that’s the plumb line for all situations. If something is uncomfortable enough or another person’s woundedness is keeping us from moving forward, being a good steward of our resources, being healthy and having appropriate life mechanics, then it’s time to say, ‘ahem’ and ask for changes.
As I’ve mentioned many times, we live in a closed society here on this Island. There are the gatekeepers who say who is going to be listened to and who is to be considered not wise. Then there are the ‘characters’ who live lives that give the colour and texture we want the Island to have. There are those designated to be ‘the opposition’. There are those cast as ‘the helpers’.
But what if we were sock putting on thingy’s to each other. What if we helped each other to health everyday. We do a lot of physical and economic help but what if we helped people walk better on their own? Do we help people use the unfamiliar to become more healthy?
Unfortunately what drags the Island down is the fact that anyone who is living less will find a cadre of people who will tell them they don’t have to change. And the greedy can be portrayed as focused with a good business sense.
But does the little Island ever decide to walk around without socks because there are some problems that seem insurmountable? Do we ever indulge that which we ought not to indulge because the alternative seems too labor intensive?
What gets fixed? What stays broken? What lies do we believe because the truth requires too much. What truths do we avoid because they would push us outside our comfort zone?
What is our ‘sock putting on thingy’? Is it government, or entertainment, or recreation, or advancements, or tech culture? What gives us greater health, and stability in our gait, and equips us to go further with greater ease?
Life is like a sock putting on thingy. You don’t know what it feels like to be healthy and productive until you use it.