A Simpler Life

There has been very little work for me during the Pandemic but life is getting busier again.  Last week I worked an evening event in downtown. I had a couple of hours to myself so went to the restaurant next door, found a quiet place in the bar and sat down.  Then I people watched.  It was as though my life was flashing before me.

Like most of us, I haven’t been out to an event or party for a long time.  This was a midweek night but the joint was jumping.  A very loud party was on the patio close to the bar.  They looked as though they were at some type of conference; certainly they were work colleagues with briefcases or whatever you call them now…  As I gazed at them over the top of my glasses with a slight frown, I pondered how old I was and how much I looked like my auntie in Ireland!  The booze was flowing and I recognized myself in past decades.  How much fun it was to meet colleagues or even better friends after a long absence!  Everyone was talking over each other and screeching with delight.

Then another party started arriving – equally fascinating to stare at.  They were all Latino and they could have been attending a Quinceneara but I didn’t notice a teenager in a vividly colored prom dress.  I then surmised it was something like an engagement party.  They were all dressed beautifully with glamorous gold lame and shimmery high heels (not the men).  The ladies make up looked like it was professionally applied.  It was a fancy schmancy restaurant and some of these guests looked a little ill at ease but at least they were following the dress code.

A young white couple came in; she was wearing a lovely summer dress but he had shorts and a baseball cap on.  The host asked him twice to remove it – I wanted to swipe it off his head and give him a lesson in etiquette which again proves how ancient I am.  I was wearing a uniform of sorts so looked business casual but I had comfy shoes on.  You reached the restaurant by precariously climbing wooden stairs (it was a historic building) and I have no idea how the ladies with stilettos did it.  I had to walk sideways and hold onto the stair rail because it was so dimly lit.  The next day my thighs hurt as though I was doing squats.

We moved to Egypt in our 40’s and went to some very glamorous events and restaurants.  After two decades in rural Scotland with rubber boots and anoraks, I took great delight in my new wardrobe full of fluttery dresses and so many shoes!  Egyptian women have wide feet and for the first time I could buy ‘Burberry’ slides, kitten heels in embossed leather with a matching bag in every color.  It was even better in Texas and I still remember my glittery pink cowboy boots.  At the time I was prepared to suffer the discomfort of uncomfortable shoes just to look pretty – not any more.

Teddy and I used to indulge ourselves with very frequent meals out and enjoyed the buzzy atmosphere of a busy bar or restaurant.  Now we have a no salt/no alcohol/no nothing regimen.  I doubt that I would truly enjoy a restaurant meal again except on a special occasion.  When I was a child, we never went to restaurants.  All we could afford was a coffee at a café or maybe a real Coca Cola with the swirly bottles.  I still love egg sandwiches with a soupçon of sand in them. Such happy memories of Nana, Mum and I taking the train to the beach with a picnic on sunny days (the sand came afterwards).

Bit by bit, the customers started to leave.  Darkness falls early in the sub tropics so I sat there longing to be in my bed watching ‘The Gilded Age’ or somesuch. In the past I would have taken the opportunity to chat to the hostess or if I wasn’t working, I would happily engage someone in conversation at the bar.  Now I just want to sit in silence.  Finally, there were three people left at the other work event on the patio.  The noise level had decreased but the drunkenness had increased exponentially.  I watched with great amusement as a handsome young Irish man tried to wrangle his two female colleagues out of the restaurant and safely into Ubers.  It was a struggle not to laugh as the following scene played out in front of me. 

Woman staggering as Irish Man tries to hold her up, “I hate it when I drink and everything is fine and then suddenly, I am so drunk!  Why does this happen to me?”  Irish Man, “You’re alright love.  I understand.  Let me help you down these stairs and into an Uber.” “No, no! I don’t know what’s happening!!”  Meanwhile his other drunk colleague is barely managing the narrow indoor stairs that lead up to the restrooms and heading in the wrong direction.  He was herding cats and it was hilarious!  No judgment from me, however, as it took me many years to figure out exactly how much I could drink.  Two glasses of wine are my limit and even that is pushing it.

Suddenly old age and retirement seemed so appealing.  You should enjoy life to the full when you want to because one day you will be tired – like me!  So, this leads me back to the title, ‘A Simpler Life’.  It seems as though I have come full circle and I am happiest leading a quiet life full of squirrels.  The two pictured at the top were exhausted after another hot day.  One is named ‘Tail’ because hers was fractured at some point and is wonky (medical terminology) – the other is her boyfriend or sibling?  They snooze together and gently play tumbling their wilkies while giving each other wee love bites.  We look at them and just melt.  Who needs fancy nights out when you can look at wildlife all day?

40 thoughts on “A Simpler Life

  1. Exactly what I am doing here in the Philippines, searching for a simpler life! There comes a point when we realize time is not our friend anymore and the summit of life is now behind us. By no means does that intimate the best times are behind us, I think it means the sweet smell of success is ever present when we breath in the cool air of our casual decent into the best years of our lives. This is the time when we have greater knowledge and experience to help guide us through all of life’s difficulties with greater aplomb and confidence. This is when the true color’s of ones soul shines through and we appreciate all that this short time on earth has in store for us. It’s all about the journey not the destination as is said so focus on each day’s beauty.

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  2. I love seeing the events of the evening through your eyes. One day I would also have been out with work friends like that too, but like you, it doesn’t interest me much. We watch the magpies in Love your squirrels 🙂 Maggie

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    • So glad you enjoyed it, Maggie! We have blues, reds and grays, here. Blue jays, cardinals and squirrels. The Blue jays are a hoot with head bobbing, dancing and mimic calls! K x

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  3. I love your pots, Kerry 🙂 People-watching is egalitarian, democratic and probably good for the environment because instead of running down your phone battery for diversion, you’re using your eyes. And most interestingly perhaps, there is the serendipity that can happen when the glances of two strangers meet. Thanks fr sharing and have a lovely day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  4. Squirrels are awfully cute but I have to say, I’m not enthused about the ones that took up residence in our attic hahahaha! Also I agree about the baseball cap – I would have felt the same!

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  5. I loved this. Little snippets of your own life entwined with observations of what’s going on around you. Isn’t it strange being amongst people again after all the lockdowns? I am still trying to ‘get used to it’.
    I sense my own need for inner peace nowadays. It’s extremely intense and rarely satisfied. Probably because I have four children aged 26 to 15 and even though two have already moved out there seems to be some kind of constant drama. Take yesterday for instance. My eldest son was in a bike accident and taken by ambulance to the hospital. We all got quite a fright, but he is completely whole and still laughing. Just a little scraped and bruised. My other son picked him up from the hospital and brought him home because I said it’s one thing the doctor checking over you, but mother needs to check you as well (and feed you, of course).
    The best part? That’s his third A and E visit since December. (And my other son had one in March).
    I love your squirrels. Stunning!!

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    • Oh dear, I am so glad that your son is just a little dinged! I was a very clumsy child and gave myself concussion at least twice. My Nana felt that a hot toddy would help so I turned up at A & E drunk and concussed, aged 7…🤕 Thank you for your comment! It will take us all time to readjust to this new normal – we are like bears emerging from their winter dens. 🐻

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  6. You paint the scene beautifully Kerry. Character observation at its finest. Here in Jersey I’ve spent the last two evenings in the town, St Helier, with my aged mother. It has changed markedly from three years ago. In the early evening the budget-end restaurants are either closed through lack of staff, or they are busy and it’s difficult to find a table. Later in the evening the town is deathly quiet, the pubs just ticking over. A lot of readjustment required before things return to ‘normal’.

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    • How wonderful that your mother is still with us! Downtown Houston is a world apart from where I live but I was surprised how much money was flowing. Some restaurants have closed but new ones are popping up. Houston is the 4th largest city in the US.
      Thank you for your kind comment and hope you are having a wonderful time with your mum – give her my regards. 😊

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  7. I completely understand the simpler life myself. I never quite understood why my parents loved to live in the countryside. Now that I have gained much age, I too live in the country and enjoy the peace and quiet. It is amusing to go into town once in awhile and sit to watch the younger generation go about their day. This is usually when I come up with the next post to write. I could never live close to a restaurant/bar as you do, but I can see where it would be enjoyable to watch at times. I never thought that age would come upon me in such a way, but I’m sure glad it has. Great post. I love how you brought me right into what you were seeing. Very enjoyable. Thank you for sharing.

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