I had an interesting first time visit to the afternoon book club meeting, at the local library. I saw some of the same people I have seen in the Mystery book club, that meets once a month in the morning. Only one gentleman in the group and a quiet one at that. The book was Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg.
In the book, the main character's husband dies of a stroke while she is washing the dishes. Before turning around she complains to him about the sound of his coffee cup breaking and how it was a new mug. Of course, her husband is dead on the floor and the coffee cup broken, next to him.
She's the kind of woman that is what I call "high maintenance" in my life. She's never had to learn how to take care of herself or her home, that was her husbands job and now she's wearing down her daughter and friends with her constant cries for help to do this or that.
I'm sure we all know somebody like that. They can be exhausting.
The book was well written but difficult for me to read, at times, because the main character reminded me so much of my mother. There is one part, in the book, where the daughter and mother are out to lunch and the mother, a writer, feels she has to get the life story of their waiter. The daughter tells her mother, "You don't have to make everybody like you."
I mentioned, in the book group, that this was a hard passage to read because it was so true, for me. I couldn't go anywhere with my mother without her trying to make friends with the staff or perfect strangers.
Some of the ladies of the group defended the main character saying that since she was a writer she felt compelled to "find" stories or gather information.
My answer to that is the same thing I eventually told my mother.
If you are out with ME then ME is the only thing I want you interested in. And, I'll be the same.
Look ME in the eyes and ask me how and what I have been doing. I'll be looking in your eyes, listening to what YOU have to say.
I bring this up because of my very BIG peeve, the cell phone. Even during our book club meeting, two women had to go out of the room because their cell phone went off. They had to carry on a conversation with somebody, at that moment, because it couldn't wait?
Give me a break. How did we ever manage to exist before cell phones? Did worlds fall apart because somebody couldn't get hold of us IMMEDIATELY? I seriously doubt it.
The women and one gentleman, in this group are all retired. This isn't a child calling because they have been locked out of the house. Although, I was a key kid and I managed fine without calling my mother.
The number of people that I see talking on their phones during LUNCH with their friends, or DINNER with their partners is amazing. It used to be a novelty but now? It saddens me.
And, it's so RUDE.
While I was walking into the library a man moved forward past me to open the library door for me. I stopped, looked him in the eye and said, "Thank you." He smiled and said,"There are still a few of us left."
I told him that was a good thing because the young still needed role models.
I hold doors for people, men, women, children because it's polite.
I turn off my cell phone when I meet somebody for lunch or a meeting. I have voice mail, I can catch up later.
I am beginning to think that our attachment to our cell phones and the social network is not a healthy thing. I know it's a social network thing.
My 27 year old daughter carries her cell phone, in her hand as if it's permanently attached.
I've seen her text messages while she feeds her child. She says that she can do both perfectly well and she can. BUT, and you knew there was going to be a but she isn't giving 100% to her child. She's feeding her, smiling but not totally engaged with her. You can't be if you are doing two things at once.
And, I'm sure somebody will point out that she doesn't have to be fully engaged, the child is happy and getting fed. The child doesn't know anything else. But, I would say, from where I am, in life, that that MOMENT IN TIME is precious. It's very, very short as those of us who have passed through it know. Soon, that child will be feeding herself. Soaking up memories of time spent together TOTALLY ENGAGED is important. Whether it's a child, your partner, your friend, your parents. I can't put in words why but getting eye contact, looking into another loved ones eyes and LISTENING to them, interacting with them is so important. It's how we connect to each other. That cell phone is just a tool but it can never replace eye to eye, soul to soul contact.
The heroine of the book does learn how to take care of herself. She learns how to let go of her daughter and making demands on her friends. The people in her life surprise her and she in turn surprises them. It made me grit my teeth at times, laugh, shake my head in wonder but in the end I smiled and was glad I took the time to read it.
:)Bea Create because it makes your soul dance with joy.