For a second time, the woman who was near my age had fallen down the stairs in her condominium and broken a bone. By the time I learned of it, she was nearly recovered.
“Have you begun looking for a place without stairs?” I nudged over the phone. With the pandemic slowing down the economy, I’d noticed a few Facebook friends were buying and selling property. Maybe it was time for my friend to do the same.
Her reply began with a sigh. “I know I should think about it but I haven’t done anything yet.”
The science of entropy I know little about, except that it’s strong a force in my life. Each morning, I sit before my computer intending to write a blog, but my route is circuitous. I check my emails first, then scroll through Facebook before monitoring the rise and fall of the stock market. Once I’ve pursued every distraction, I stare at my empty screen and wait for inspiration. Like the Traveler in Walter de la Mare’s poem, The Listeners, my thoughts seek out my Muse with a question. “Is there anybody there?”
Often the Muse fails to answer. Even so, over time, words eventually come. ‘Is it lunchtime yet?”
If the two hands of the clock are at their zenith, I am free for an hour– free to contemplate the contents of my refrigerator; ponder whether its easier to open a can of soup or to make a sandwich; or, forgetting that how little time has passed, I check my email. Oh yes, I know about entropy.
With the pandemic shuttering me from the outside world, it’s difficult to avoid. Like forlorn dust, it accumulates and seems to leave blotches on the winter sun. By 4 p.m., if I have written a line or two. I’m happy.
To be honest, it’s wrong for me to blame dust—the pandemic emptiness that colors my life. Why personify a personal failure? My friend with her broken bone is guilty of doing the same. I also include those who stare out bay windows or envy the dog asleep at their feet. What is entropy, after all, but unfilled space? It’s a perfect opportunity to inventory one’s life: to make a financial plan; to buy or sell a condominium; to search out lifestyle economies before the next crisis comes, which it will. How much insurance is enough? Are there additions or subtractions to be made in the policies?
At the moment, I’m making adjustments to my will. Anyone with assets should have a will. Leaving the family to argue over the silver samovar is unkind, especially when making a will is easy and inexpensive. The November 2020 edition of the AARP Bulletin lists places that provide free or low-cost advice.(pg. 4) Death, isn’t age-sensitive, after all. The pandemic has taught us that much.