Relatives? I don’t much get involved with what most of my relatives do, and vice-versa. I seldom see most of my family of origin and, when we do get together, we say how nice it is to see each other, whether we mean it or not. Hey, we haven’t seen each other in years, and most of us haven’t thought about each other twice since the last funeral we attended en masse.
My immediate family is an exception. We don’t interfere with what each other does, which is not caring about their agenda but caring about them. We see each other often and get along better than most close blood kin. But then, we’ve worked at being civil with each other over the years. It hasn’t come easy, but it has become strong. There is a lot of love in our homes.
Neighbor’s tidiness? I didn’t used to much like the way my neighbor’s took care of their yard, what with the tall grass, the trash can, the dead car in the driveway and the parked car on the street because the garage was too full of stuff. But I had reached a certain level of not much caring, since they were very friendly – noisy at times, but always had a smile and a wave handy, and sometimes even a hug. Then one night, about four in the morning, I really cared a lot when their two parked cars simultaneously exploded into flames that I could see through my bedroom window. Dang, one of the cars was against my giant magnolia tree. I instantly assumed that the tree would burst into flames and then my house would burn down. I said my most used four-letter word and called 911. The firemen were here in minutes and put both car fires out. I was proud of them and, whew, grateful. And told them so. It was quite a night. There were investigators, and the fire chief, in person, until broad daylight. Now as I look out my window, I see a good-looking front yard, as neat as there is on the street. Green grass carefully mowed. Driveway and curb edged. Shrubbery pruned. Not an extra blade of grass sticking up anywhere. I am a happy neighbor, so happy that, in the spirit of tidiness, I freshened up the landscaping between my front yard and theirs.
And then there’s proper diet. I don’t much care. I’m eighty years old and already have high cholesterol and the recommended prescription to prove it. My weight is within the current acceptable limits. I like all kinds of food and eat my four daily meals off little salad plates to fool myself into believing that I have eaten whole meals. It works for me. Oh, yeah, sometimes a piece of pie is one of those meals.
What people think of me? Except for my grandchildren, it bothers me not. And my grandchildren, they all think I’m terrific and tell me so. The baby says it with a smile (like my neighbors). I have a very few close friends whom I love dearly, several very pleasant casual friends who like me and vice-versa, and a lot of acquaintances who don’t particularly think about me much at all, unless we bump into each other somewhere. Then, there are a few of you who do not like me at all, for one reason or another. I have to tell you, that bothers me not at all. There are a few people that I don’t like either. I just stay away from them. That’s how I don’t get bothered by them.
I have spent a lot of years learning to maintain a prudent distance from people, places and things I can neither tolerate nor change. I have, simultaneously, worked on changing me and at least some of my unpleasant actions and attitudes. The result is the white-haired, generally happy, slow moving, usually laid-back person here before you. I’m still working on me.