The Single Woman’s Single Short Lament

It’s not the absence of sex. Sex is a young person’s game. It’s wonderful, yes, but messy and ragged and unsettling, to say the least. And it involves a whole lot of body parts which may not work so well any more, or not nearly so well as they used to. Men have performance anxiety, yes, but women have pleasing anxiety. At least 70-year-old women do. And I’m a grandmother. I wonder– Was my grandmother still actually, you know? Huh.

Anyway, it’s not sex. In a word, it’s intimacy. But not the hand-holding, walking the beach at sunset and afterward sitting by a fire toasting vegetables variety. (Marshmallows is out, so put in something healthy there. Kale? Roasting kale by the fire? Never mind.)

It’s having someone there to tell me the little stories of his/her life and to care about those little stories. To share my own little stories. So then I thought- Speak Without Interruption. I’m going to send this out and hope somebody will share back.

My little story is this. I was headed out for dinner with a friend in Seattle and from there I was going to visit a friend in Olympia (old Nisqually, but that’s hair-splitting) an hour’s drive. I was putting together some pills for the double overnight. (The list holds steady at multi-vitamin, echinacea, selenium, baby aspirin, a melatonin for sleep problems, and (new, recently) a hormone pill to stimulate my sagging thyroid.) So I had the pills in my hand and one dropped into the toilet.

I keep a clean toilet because my dog likes to drink from the toilet bowl so I hesitated a moment, then fish out the hormone pill and realized (it was dripping) I’d better take it right away. So I did.

Then as I was putting the rest of the pills into my Go-Tub (my son invented these; they’re wonderfully handy little things) I saw that I had not dropped the hormone into the toilet, I had dropped (hence, swallowed) the melatonin. Egad.

So off I went to dinner and regaled my friend (I hope it was regaled not bored to tears) with visions of my head falling into the soup and, less entertainingly, crashing my car into a tree. We debated and decided Turkish coffee (we were at a Turkish restaurant) was just the thing to keep me awake. So they brought me the coffee but it was Very Strong and Very Bitter and I couldn’t quite manage it.

So my friend drank the coffee and I had Turkish tea which had a nice mint taste but (I was assured) was nonetheless chockfull of caffeine. So off I went, Driving to Olympia (sort of like Sailing to Byzantium) with melatonin and caffeine (as I thought) battling for control of my body.

When I arrived in Olympia, and told my friend the story, she decided I should have some camomile tea to counteract the effects of the caffeine I’d taken to counteract the effects of the melatonin. I felt remarkably normal.

I went to bed after ingesting the camomile tea, and when I went to take the rest of the pills for the night, I discovered I still had the melatonin. What I had taken was the baby aspirin!

The whole “hormone not a hormone melatonin not melatonin baby aspirin” saga was a little nerve-wracking. Plus the tea my friend had given me turned out to be black tea not camomile which made me wonder about the effects of that. So I took the melatonin. At least, I think it was the melatonin.

I slept fine.

That’s the kind of incident I’d like to share with a part.ner. If I could make him laugh or at least smile at the “Great Adventure of the Pills,” it would make me feel good about myself. Then maybe I’d have the heart to read what’s happening in the world, most of which seems to be bad. Maybe I’d even have the energy to do something about it. Volunteer work, maybe.

Then I wouldn’t need the melatonin.

Do you live alone? Or do you live with someone who doesn’t care to hear your little stories? In either case- in any case- would you share the little story with me? I’d really appreciate it. Just a little incident out of your day. I’ll put on the coffee, get out the biscuits, and we’ll talk.

Don’t worry. The coffee is decaf and the biscuits are gluten-free

14 thoughts on “The Single Woman’s Single Short Lament

  1. Great story–it made me laugh out loud–and as far as sharing–that’s what friends–of whatever gender–are for!
    Keep sharing!

    • Thanks Barbara but I meant it. Please share a story from your life. I’d appreciate it. just a little “nothing ” story. Thank you

  2. About “aging” (as they call it), last week a woman in her early nineties died. She had been a researcher in the topic area of aging, I regret that I didn’t commit her name to memory when I read the obituary, as she certainly deserves to be named. Her obituary ended with the quote, “I don’t know how it happened, but suddenly I was old.” Doesn’t that just say it?

    I publish the literary journal, Cirque ( We get many submissions that look at this particular flood tide, the inexorable rising of years. My own recent book (Defiance Street: Poems and other writing) has at least five, one with the line, “Lift my face toward Kotzebue!” Another, “BJ,” notes that those who blow horn stay firm and fabulous, then coyly offers, “Hey, buddy, Whip out that piccolo,” as it slides, as well, into the realm of sexuality where, as that tiresome, dominating, post war generation… or almost post war, in my case… were always rather more comfortable than our parents. At least we thought so, as they were secretive but might have been skilled in dark rooms.
    I am a scant year younger than you, Lyn. More war baby than part of the post war boom but in the leading edge of the ’60s kids… we who would strike major social revolution and then forget.
    As for small stories, just because one is partnered, it doesn’t mean one has the perfect audience for such stories… maybe, blog is better, plus FB. I am still getting my head around the taking of a pill after a splash in, what you assure me, is a very clean toilet. Wow. One hates to waste a pill. I do identify with the sequence of events: finding remedy for the problem, mistakenly assumed, resulting in a new problem, or many.
    Within the hour, I take to the road. It will be sunny in Seward, Alaska (my destination). Seattle in August! ~ Sandy

    • This is great Sandy. I have a love/ indifference feeling about Facebook. Right now I’m riding a wave of “don’t make me go there”! We’ll see how long that lasts! Have a great trip!

  3. At the beginning I thought the story was not for me but went on reading. Actually, it’s a nice story, very short but very well written.

  4. My story occurred during the few days I recently spent with my son and his family while continuing to recover from knee surgery of a month ago. I must preface this by stating that I WAS going a little stir crazy, so I might have had a slightly inappropriate response to some amusing conversation which was taking place at the dinner table.

    I would first like to state that my son and his wife are hard-working, and perfect parents. They juggle jobs, charity work, hobbies, and mom-and-dad-hood with finesse. Regular family meals, lots of one-on-one time with each of their two daughters, chores assigned to each child, and—- to their credit, well-placed family rules. Because the girls are under 10 years old, one regulation is that they not use certain words—mostly ones considered offensive when referring to another person or thing, i.e. “hate”, “stupid”—you get the idea. Commonly regarded swear words are also off limits. I should also mention that guests and other family members must also be mindful of “good taste.”

    Which brings me to my story, but only after exercising bragging rights that I (and anyone else who tells a story about their grandchildren) am “entitled.” My almost 10-year-old granddaughter knows more about Shakespeare—having been in a couple of children’s productions in the last couple of years—then I—a former Lit. major from 50 years back—will EVER know! And the younger granddaughter, now 7, is a song and dance kind of gal!

    Now, back to the dinner table. The 7-year-old had finished eating, and excused herself to the next room where she could put on some of her favorite songs from YouTube and sing along. After a couple of tunes she came back to the table laughing and giggling hysterically, sputtering that she had just come across a song that, in her words, “is definitely inappropriate for me to listen to because it has a word I’m not supposed to say.” Naturally, we all wanted to know what that word was, but she said she just couldn’t say it, all the while giggling uncontrollably, then adding, “Well, it’s not really just one word; it’s three.” My curiosity was piqued. I was not alone in that. Finally, she offered that maybe she could write it (them) down, because she still couldn’t stop laughing–and she was too embarrassed to say them. She was immediately supplied a pen and paper from her dad, with which she carefully wrote out the following in capital letters: “kissmyass.” Shamefully, I admit, this brought gales of laughter from three out of four of us —and no, we were not drinking. The outburst continued for a minute or two as we, dutifully and mindfully agreed this song would not be in good taste for a seven-year-old to sing and lamented the difficulty of finding good songs for a child to sing! Of course, the conversation should have stopped there, but all of sudden a light went on in my head, and I, brazonly ignored my grandmotherly common sense, and unleashed a cry of excitement! “Wait a minute! That’s PERFECT!” I was undeterred. “I can use “kissmyass” in the sketch I’m writing, which is about how using the microphone feature in order to text someone can often result in unintended messages being sent! Suppose the sender was actually trying to text the word, uh, … Christmas?!” I was ecstatic!

    Oops. Perhaps after five days, Grandma ought to be thinking about going home, I mused.

    • What a wonderful tale. Yes… It would be funny if the phone spell checker added x-rated words for “normal” words. Hmm… An idea for a short story?
      Cheers- and keep ’em coming. (Did you learn the song?)

  5. Whatever Works

    At the risk of sounding sexist, I have long observed that when faced with a sudden problem that needs immediate attention, the average man will spend an inordinate amount of time searching for the correct tool for securing a “fix”—–often risking an undesireable outcome because of the delay. The average woman, on the other hand, may find an “unlikely” fix for the problem, but one that is readily available (as well as equally useful), and will apply it in a more timely way, thus averting a poor outcome.

    Last night my husband, our adult grandson, and I set out to pick up our daughter and her 8-year old son, Jayson, so that we could go out and celebrate the fact that I had probably “dodged a bullet,” and would not have to undergo further surgery on my knee. Soon we were all headed for a popular Mexican restaurant, when we noticed that Jayson had socks on, but was not wearing his shoes, although they were in the car. He had resisted wearing them, explaining that he had a sore on the back of his heel from the shoes. Upon examination, his mother noted that the back support of the shoe had a piece of metal which was broken down and extruding from the inside padding of the shoe. He had a corresponding sore on the back of his heel. His mother agreed, he could not wear that shoe. Although not relevant, the reason the back of his shoe was broken was due to Jayson’s haste when putting on his shoes—particularly during the summer when the proper wearing of shoes isn’t as necessary as it is during the school year. It takes more time when one has to first, untie mother’s knots in the laces before attempting to squeeze one’s feet into the footwear, and secondly, more time, yet, to carefully re-tie them, knowing that all laces will likely be flapping on the pavement within minutes of his going out the door—-the usual outcome when Jayson ties his own shoes. So he had adopted a shortcut by simply cramming as much of his feet into these time-wasters, smashing down the backs in the process and wearing them half-on until he tired of running on his toes.

    So what to do? I asked to see the shoe, in order to determine whether the metal could be bent back by hand, so it wouldn’t gouge him. No dice. Then I began to go through the glove box, hoping to find something suitable to provide enough padding, to protect his foot from the offending dagger in his shoe. Meanwhile, suggestions flew around the car like hornets— everyone buzzing at once! Have I mentioned that our family could be the poster family for ADHD?— “Just keep that shoe off.” “Let him only wear his socks.” “Let’s go back home.” “Why can’t he wear them like he usually does, with the backs smashed down?” “Let’s stop at Freddie’s and get him some new shoes.” “No, it’ll take too much time.” “Why do I have to wear shoes?” “We’re hungry.” “Just have him wear it while he’s in the restaurant–it won’t be that long”….. Yikes! Did I really hear that suggestion?! I desperately searched my purse for something —- anything. And there it was! I pulled out a small plastic pouch containing a folded thin pad for bladder protection. “Here, use this,” I offered. My daughter did not hesitate. She took the pouch, placed it snugly into the back of Jayson’s shoe, guided his foot inside, and tied the shoe. Problem solved. If Jayson knew what it was, he didn’t say. Or he didn’t care. We would swing by Freddie’s on the way back to get the new shoes.

    Arriving at the restaurant, my husband, getting out of the car, remarked, “No MAN would EVER consider that a reasonable way to solve that problem!”


  6. Lyn,
    What a great idea this is. I too feel keenly the absence of a mate, mostly for the storytelling void. And Todos Santos seems to generate dozens of great stories a week, most of which have the whiff of miracle about them.
    Last week I had 2 chance meetings with unaccompanied women in 2 different restaurants.
    I walked into Alma y Manny’s at the same time as another woman of a certain age. She sat down at a table which I had to pass to get to my lonely table next door. As I passed, thinking how silly it was for us to occupy adjoining tables, she said, quasi-gruffly, “Did you want to sit down?” I said “Yes” in the same tone, sat down and said my name was Carol.
    “My name’s Carol,” said she. In fairly short order we realized we shared several of the same avocations and interests, so we spent a very happy 2 hours talking books and showing off our phone photography. We’ve decided that she will be my mother and I her daughter since we’re both feeling that lack as well.
    The other encounter was briefer. I had been feeling down-ish and told myself I would wander into La Esquina and wait for a miracle. I asked a lone woman if I could join her and we had a desultory conversation. The restaurant was packed and the kitchen was so far behind people were abandoning their brunches. My companion had been bequeathed 3 meals by some would-be diners in a hurry. When they arrived she passed one of them on to me – The miracle of the free breakfast!

    • Thanks for posting. I liked both your stories. The mother/daughter thing reminded me of a story about Zelda Fitzgerald. When she went to the asylum, she was convinced she was Mary, Jesus’s mother. She met another woman with the same delusion and they argued about which of them was the Real Mary. Then the other woman said- You’re Mary? You’re my daughter! And Zelda said, “Mother!” and then they were the best of friends. I look forward to returning to Todos Santos in the near future. What a wonderful place you live in. A great place for great souls like yourself!

  7. I love this comment. The story is worth publication on its own. In a Reader’s Digest Family events section? Thanks for posting.

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