I have plenty of those, too many to count frankly. Shortcoming could be my middle name, it is not, but it would be very descriptive of my many flaws.
Today I discovered a new one.
Living alone is nice. I cannot even properly express how wonderful it is to live alone. And, that was the problem today.
I live in the downtown area of my city, in an area of restored 19th century buildings. Residences. Mansions. Historic District. Many of the buildings are now divided into apartments or flats. I live in one of them.
Some of the buildings are businesses of one kind or another. Public service agencies, shops and offices. There are two flats/apartments in the old house in which I live. There is an office on the north. It is quiet, nicely remodeled, even though most of the equipment does not work well. The place is drafty as a sieve, the pipes leak, stove works when it feels like it, but overall I like it here. CoolCat does, too.
So, the quiet. The person who lives in the other flat is gone for most of the day; she still works full time. The rest of her time is spent, mostly, on bike riding. She rides for distance and endurance. Every weekend, most nights after work, all year long. She is amazing and quite a decent roll-model for staying fit and engaged with, oh, I do not know, friends, fellow enthusiasts, community, the world. It is inspiring and I admire her, and it helps to make up for her not being a good neighbor. She is not headlines-horrible or anything, just seriously fussy and accustomed to being able to tell the other people who have lived here what to do. She even pushes the landlord around.
Now, I really do not have any problems with her. Truth is that when she was weird with me the first time it startled me and, unfortunately, triggered the kind of response I used to have when, well, back then. It was almost immediately followed by a determination to get her to like me. My guess is that we will never be close friends, but we are cordial and have had a few nice conversations.
So, more of the quiet. Today I was leaving to go mentor at one of the schools and I noticed that there was a slight crumb of snow on the ground. The driveway was fully covered and there were patches where it looked as if parts had melted and then had frozen in bits and spots.
So, fully informed, I started back to my car and found myself on my side. Black ice. The bane of living and walking where it is often mid-day, sun shining, birds singing, but for nearly half the year it is bone-chillingly cold. Freezing. Something I appreciated for the fifteen minutes it took to try and stand and then crawl to the rain barrel and then finally crawl to the porch steps, hoist my fat ass up on the lowest step, catch my breath and pull myself back to standing. Both knees and one hip could use replacing, and I make sure that I am well-footed, because when you factor in my fat ass and the rest of me, those poor joints really cannot get me upright, so I make every effort to stay that way.
The fall left me with sore knees, kind of wobbly after the crawling, aching hip and aware, for the first time of the single drawback, that shortcoming, of living here. Well, anywhere actually. It just made me realize what it means to have no one to notice if you go missing. No one to notice if you lying on your side on the driveway.
It could have been worse. I might have broken something besides my pride. Well, not my pride because I have not had any for a very long time. One of the things on which I am working is getting some.
I could have fallen at night, after my upstairs neighbor was home, the office on the other side of the driveway was closed, in the dark that is not relieved by even a near-by street lamp. In the dark, in the cold and maybe so much ice that I would not have been able to crawl to the porch. I have had a life of being alone, but this was different.
However, I am fine. I made it to school on time. Got groceries. Came home. Not going to the DV support group tonight. Not willing to risk any more acrobatics. If I got dressed right now I could still make it. Sorry. See you guys next week.
The small thing that bothers me, though, is that I am so busy that I rarely think of myself as the elderly babe I am. We all notice when the boys and I play and it cannot be on the floor. I do not color my hair and I am mostly grey now, and you would think that when I stand before the mirror at least twice a day to brush my teeth and comb my hair and wash up that all that silvery stuff would be reminding me all the time. My body is old, but I can do pretty much anything I want...as long as it is not on the floor.