We’ve fallen into a routine, which is the same one I’ve had for years, except now it includes David, who these days sleeps until seven-fifteen, which I will never understand. I’ve been up a couple of hours by then; I’ve rehydrated, written a couple of pages, and checked emails.
The schedule is: exercise in the morning, eat lunch, take a rest (he sleeps, I read), run errands. In between all this I do laundry and put the dishes away, and David does the gardening, which is a massive undertaking. On Monday afternoons I play Mahjong and on Thursdays David golfs.
It’s a comfortable pattern, and just because we follow a routine doesn’t mean we’re boring or bored. There’s plenty to do. But gone are the days when I wrote about swiftlet caves and turtle-egg beaches, exotic lands and anomalous cultural behaviors. I suppose I could tell the exciting story about how, the other morning in spin class, I got so vigorous that I caught my gold chain on one of the bike handles and broke the clasp. And then the nice man at the jewelry store replaced the busted clasp for a reasonable sum.
Or I could share how my little dog, Trip, eleven now, loves to chase rabbits and comes back with burrs caught deep in his coat. Yesterday I gave up trying to pick the things out, but cut them out instead, which makes for an odd-looking dog.
Currently, I have no major project to offer diversion. When I lived in Singapore or Houston and got hit with an empty day or two, I’d shop. I’ve heard that some people don’t enjoy shopping, which baffles me. I find malls magical, flea markets intriguing, antique stores whimsical. I get this trait from my father, who was in Germany after the war when there was nothing to buy, no food, no clothes, no shoes, no hair products. When I was a child his favorite pastime was to pace up and down every aisle at Kmart, his face alight with wonder.
“Look at all the stuff,” he’d say. “This is the best place in the world.”
It sounds like a patriotic statement, but he meant it literally. Kmart, to him, was the best place in the world.
When we first moved to Marble Falls, David wanted to go on a grand adventure every day. For the first time ever he was free to explore the place he was living.
“I can’t go adventuring with you every day,” I told him. “I have a house to care for, a dog to walk, dinner to put together.”
So we agreed to have an excursion in the area once a week. We toured several city centers. We hiked around lakes and through wildlife reserves. We went boating and kayaking (enjoyed the boat, not impressed with the kayak). Next week we’re going to rent jet skis for an afternoon and see if we want to invest in a pair.
“Why two?” David asks. “Why can’t you just ride on the back of mine?”
“Because I want to control my own jet ski.” It’s a reasonable assertion. He would never put up with riding on the back of mine.
He and I have different ideas about what jet skis are for. He thinks they should be fun. I think they should be relaxing. He goes voom-voom and likes to splash. I go putt-putt-putt and like to think deep thoughts. We’ll see.
Today’s plan is to walk for exercise in the morning, then find an air-conditioned mall in Austin. The walk will be up and back on County Road 401, four miles, a little over an hour. This walk is never dull because nature is fascinating to us city folk. So far we’ve seen a mother armadillo and her four babies, too many leaping deer to count, a rattlesnake, and a fox. Once a bird thought David was a bush and it kept flying at him, looking for a place to settle, which caused him to wave his arms and ask “Bird, what are you thinking?”
The mall in the afternoon is for my entertainment. David will read while I wander through Sephora and feel the texture of the fabrics at J. Jill. There’s nothing I need, so I won’t buy anything but, like with my father, it satisfies my soul to see the abundance found in the world we inhabit. Although, come to think of it, I do need something yellow in my closet.