Accusations, Truth and Lame Excuses

sorry“I’ve been accused!” I wailed.

“Who? Who accused you!?” Of what?!” my husband declared sincerely, obviously ready to sweep to my defense.

“The Foxboro Reporter.” I sniffed. “They said I wasn’t writing. They said they were disappointed in me.” I wiped my eyes and moved closer, hoping for a hug.

He harumpred. “Its about time someone said something.”

I paused and re-grouped.

“It’s not that I don’t have excuses.” I pleaded. “I mean, I’m working now.”

“No you’re not, you’re reading the Internet.”

Ouch, I could see this conversation was going the wrong way.

“You don’t understand.” I replied. “It’s difficult being me.”

He gave me a long look. And, perhaps wisely, returned his attention to what he was doing.

“I know that other people work” I continued, “and still do stuff, but I just can’t. It takes all my time and energy to just work, eat, and sleep.”

Before I retired, I had great plans. I was going to exercise all day. I would shed 20 pounds and 10 years. I would run marathons. Then I would paint (my mother always wanted me to be an artist! It would please her…even if she wasn’t around to see it). Next I would write that Great American novel. The heroine would be a middle-aged woman who farted a lot, and had magic powers over her children. I was always going to start right after I finished that one last blog…

“Oh, come on…” my husband added, again coming to my defense. “You didn’t just read the Internet, you talked to yourself a lot too…”

I sighed in agreement. It had been a good life while it lasted.

Still, I had known that when I retired, I might a plan ‘B’. I figured I could always go and get a easy job. It wouldn’t be like I flunked retirement or anything.

But last year, even plan ‘B’ proved elusive. I did a short tax preparation stint, and had a picker/packer adventure. Then I found myself searching the Foxboro Reporter classifies and Craigslist in vain. And part-time jobs at minimum wage had some what clarified my thinking regarding the value of money.

So, when an old friend called to say “Carol-Ane, you might want to sit down before listening to the rest of this message…” I was receptive to her offer of a job.

“You know, lov…” I mused. “I always try to write the truth in this column…”


“Are you all right?” I asked. “Are you choking? Why are you pointing to my nose?…You know I’m never going to finish this if you keep interrupting me!!”

“But…” I continued ignoring him. “I’d like to talk about being retired and then working and how I feel about it. But I don’t know how I feel. Not really.”

You see, when I was first working, I defined myself as a career woman. After I had kids, I morphed into super-earth-mother. Then, when I retired, I took up knitting and gardening, and generally mucking around. Now in my latest reincarnation, I’ve convinced myself that, even though I’m happy to be working, I’m too busy and stressed to do anything but whine about it. In truth, I just flail from one story line to another, telling myself whatever sweet lie will get me through the day.

“Wait. I know!” I declared. “I can tell everyone that I haven’t written because I’m busy having an existential crisis!”

“A what?” my husband asked. “Is that anything like toe fungus?…Maybe you should just say that the dog ate your computer?”

I brightened. He was ready to help. “Yeah…or…that I was on a business trip to the moon…and the traffic was bad…”

“You could claim an old knitting injury…. or maybe” my husband suggested, pausing and looking directly at me “…you could just write something.”

“What?” I demanded, feeling betrayed. “What could I write?”

“An apology?”

“What?… But…how could I make an apology last two pages?”

“You’re right.” he replied, thoughtfully. “You’d better stick with lame excuses…then you could go on for pages and pages…”

“Thank you” I sighed, snuggling into his arms, and thinking that perhaps I had solved my existential crisis. After all, I didn’t really need to figure out the truth. A tight hug and a good excuse worked just fine.

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