Doctor Eclectic

Doctor Eclectic
Doctor Eclectic

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Love @ 75

I suppose many of you share my experience in seeing love differently as we grow older.  My reflection actually started when I began to see many of the older singers bringing out discs of what are called “Standards” but are, in my memory and impression, “lounge songs”, “torch songs”, or more universally, “love songs”.
Rogers and Hart

Composers like Richard Rogers have inspired come back discs for artists like Rod Stewart, Tony Bennett, and more recently Shirley Jones, who unabashedly confesses to being charmed by the genre, even as she approaches 78.  I was listening to her disc A Tribute to Richard Rogers the other evening and was thinking that “love” has an entirely different air to it now than when I was younger, considerably younger.

Shirley Jones
For instance, when I listened to the words of “I Wish I Were in Love Again” I noticed that they spoke to how unsettled the feelings are when you are falling in love.  The song points out how things are changing and the fact that one is unsettled is confusing and somewhat frightening.  In contrast, now, at my age, I find the thing most noticeable about the love I experience is exactly the opposite.  It is the stability, the comfort of knowing what is happening, or experiencing the calm that ensues from knowing that love is reciprocated, that you have an anchor in an unsettled world.

And then, when I listened more carefully to “Falling in Love” I realized that happened a long time ago, and what I now take comfort in is staying in love.  In realizing that there is still love in a world that is not “make-believe”, and that I am not “playing the fool” but am comfortable with giving trust and making an effort to be responsive to another’s needs.

When we were courting, we agreed more or less that to be successful each member of the union needed to give more than 50%.  In other words, needed to think of the other more than of oneself.  I am one hundred percent sure I do not do that all the time, but I think I do it often.  I often think of a comment my brother-in-law made when his wife passed away.  “I wish I had given her flowers more often” he said.  Now, we have orchids on the window sill that get changed when they look a little peaked.  Not because of an occasion, but because Mary seems to enjoy them.

When I more of less retired six years ago, one of the things I said I would do is fix supper one night a week.  I’ve been pretty faithful about that, but one thing that has changed, is that I try to do that on a night when it would be most helpful to Mary: when she was shopping until late afternoon, or had an appointment that might be tiring.

.And there are the rituals that have developed through the years, that give comfort because they are reminders of how much time we have spent together: for instance, we sit pretty much in the same area when we go to church, without asking the other where they want to sit. We breakfast and dine together in the evening as an expected event.  And, while I may not open the car door for her, I notie if she is getting there before me, and I unlock the door, for her convenience.  And we actually kiss several times a day; not as ardently as when we were twenty-five, but with some spirit.

Even our bad habits give a certain amount of stability to the love we feel for each other.  I finish her sentences, which drives her nuts.  And she leaves cupboard doors and drawers open for me to edge around and bump into.  We can count on the other to do that, just to remind ourselves that this is the person we married some fifty years ago.

So, what is love like at 75?  It’s nice, thank you for asking.

In my next post I’ll share with you my experience in seeing another group that has been together for fifty years, The Chieftains, whom we saw in performance last evening.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wait. Wait. Don't Hang UP!

The other day I received two solicitation calls on my cell phone.  I thought it was smarter than that.

The greater nuisance is that I seem to routinely receive about three calls on my land line where no one is on the line when I answer.  I accuse my older son of screening my calls with Caller ID to only answer when he wants to talk to me, but, while I don’t do this myself, it wouldn’t make much difference since the “hang-up” calls have ID of “Private”, “Unknown”, or on occasion “Blocked”.
And I subscribe to the national “Don’t Call” list.

That was a joke!  Several years ago people were told that if they no longer wanted solicitation calls, they could subscribe their telephone number to a national service that would make it illegal for a business to call residences unless they had a business relationship with them.  Marketers quickly learned that they could buy lists from venders and thereby establish a “relationship”.  What other explanation as to why I continued to get calls from services asking about a time share my oldest son sold twenty years ago?
And then the cell phone explosion took over.  We began to receive emails that would suggest we were soon to begin receiving solicitation calls on our mobile phones unless…well you can fill in the blanks as to unless what.  But these were pooh-poohed as cries of “Wolf!” and in fact that seemed to be just an unfounded fear.

But the land line calls continued.  And lately they seem to be increasing.  I learned that if someone is on the line you can effectively have short conversations by either hitting the “2” button, which disconnects many calls, or looking at the caller ID (any 877 or 800-series number is suspect) and letting the call go to voice, or answering and reminding the caller that “we do not take solicitation calls at this number, and please remove me from whatever list you got my name from.”
Seemingly, unsolicited facsimiles must have a “take me off your list” feature attached to the message, as do many of the lines where I dial the caller ID I see on my screen.  And this week I received my first two solicitation calls on my cell phone.  This frightens me.

But not as much as the calls that I answer, where the caller ID is “Private” or “Unknown” or “Blocked” and when I answer there is nothing but a “click”.
I have been told that these are most likely from a service that establishes the best time for a marketer to call and expect a pickup.  This information would be extremely interesting to a company seeking to solicit to a residence in a certain zip code or service area, and would have commercial value to such a company.

An interesting twist I recently heard is that with so many people forsaking their landlines and having only mobile phones, it has become increasingly difficult to cull demographic information from a phone. I make daily calls to people living in my area with area codes from Boston, or San Francisco, or Chicago, since that is where they originally set up their line.  This frustrates political pollsters who depend on determining a person’s income, and possibly even their ethnicity, creed, or political value from an area code.
Maybe that fact alone may cut down on nuisance calls, but I doubt it. I just interrupted this post to answer a call suggesting I might benefit from health plan, being offered in my locale.

I’ve decided that for my next post, since it will be near Valentine’s Day, I’ll share with you my feelings and findings on “love @ 75”.  Yes, it still exists.