LIVING UNSCRIPTED: Back in the Saddle

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“I don’t want to brag or make anyone jealous or anything,
but I can still fit in to the earrings I wore in high school.”

– “Cathy” greeting card

Summer in the city and my gal pals were looking great. Emma, still confidently single, cut out wheat and had already lost a chunk since she left me in London… Karen, handcuffed to Toolman (whenever possible), added jogging to her yoga and biking routine so she was fit as a fiddle; Pailey was still hot-to-trotting on the on-line dating scene, working out regularly in the gym & gorgeously petite –and JB was back on track with her Mr, planning their first vacation alone together in years. I, on the other hand, was paying the price for all the wonderful cheese I discovered my last couple of weeks overseas so my earrings were, indeed, the only things in the suitcases I was still living out of that I didn’t have to wiggle in to. My bad. Deal with it.

Not that it mattered much. Bond, James, swept me up at JFK and off my feet at the Chelsea Hotel, both of us starving for the “human touch” neither of us had since we broke our two-day record for the number of 7-minute moments followed by a cigarette (neither one of us smoke) back in March when he surprised me in Paris for the weekend. After a couple of nights in the city (and feeling rather groovy) we headed upstate for the 12-performance run of a musical Pailey and I have had (with a different partner) in development for the past three years. She rented a stately 5-bedroom stone house facing a lake, which we were sharing with our lighting, set and sound designers during the run. Bond, James, was heading back to Tampa in a couple of days so we planned to make the most of our time together despite having housemates within earshot…

It had been awhile and getting used to sharing my bed was weird; but ever the gentleman and gentle man, he did move slowly – to accommodate the reality of my having more than my fair share of scar tissue from two C-sections and a full hysterectomy — and in the dark, to appease my ego. Apparently that wasn’t enough to avoid a full-blown case of College Girl Syndrome however. Unable to cure the onslaught of that awful vaginal pulsing and burning urine with an occasional, somewhat discrete cranberry juice on the drive up there, we wound up in the ER of the Catskill Regional Medical Center in the middle of our first night in the mountains.

“Uhmm honey, you are good,” the nurse quasi whispered, leaning in & waking us up from a snuggle/snooze on a cot in the ER at 5 am. She actually winked at me as Bond, James, hopped off my gurney to use the bathroom…

” This is ridiculous…” I quipped, handing her back the blanket someone had covered us up with when we dozed off, “I’m 60 years old…!”

“Hey, honey,” she confided, apparently impressed, “I’m 55 and haven’t had a man in 5 years… You go girl!”

Even the doctor seemed to be struggling to keep a straight face giving us instructions as he filled out the prescriptions, adding extra pills “to be taken as a preventative measure” when “you (wink/wink) think it might be necessary…”

I suppose that incident brought the humor back in to the crazy of mid-life dating… If you play like teen-agers, you pay like teenagers… It was daylight when we left the hospital and my “walk of shame” was from the ER back to the parking lot –not to mention having to explain why we weren’t at breakfast when we caught up with the other houseguests at the theater later that day (!)

But the good news was that I had my first story to tell that didn’t involve a passport. I was back in the saddle, sharing my humiliating episode with my gal pals by the end of the following week when we went to the TONY Awards. And the re-telling was pretty hilarious…

We all got a little older and wiser during my absence but it was Pailey who had the most growth. Type-A personality, and divorced less than a year when I left, she was then aggressively on-line dating while waiting impatiently for her ideal man (aka Mr. CEO) to realize that she is his ideal woman. A couple of months ago, an accidental butt-dial to a cell phone he left in his apartment when the two of them met up on their bikes to watch the sunset, was picked up by the much younger girlfriend he continually swore to Pailey he was dumping out of his LA apartment… (Apparently she was now living with him in NYC as well.) Our love birds parted after an hour or so — and the girlfriend, having listened in to their entire private conversation, redialed Pailey and said enough (not to mention CEO blaming Pailey when she called to warn him that their preverbal cat was out of the bag) to wake her up to the fact that she does, indeed, deserve better.

Then she met a really Nice Guy. There were enough differences and similarities to be intriguing so after just a couple of dates and a heavily discounted shopping spree in his designer showroom (generosity is a good thing), she decided to accept his invitation to an all expenses paid “fun” weekend in Barcelona (Spain). And it would have been “fun” if only they hadn’t landed in broad daylight, changed for a quick jog –and he hadn’t proudly exposed his grossly out-of-shape shape in plaid shorts, a silly t-shirt and white socks… But alas, he did, and those white socks (!!!), for our jogging, kick boxing, petite, zero-body-fat pal, were a deal killer. Despite the fact that they are both English speakers and a few honest words followed by a “my treat” at dinner, might have sufficed, she somehow felt obligated to end their stay in Barcelona with enough drinks to pull off a Happy Ending. (Okay, so you really never know what you’d do unless you’re in it but my guess is I might have avoided the extra protein by suggesting a movie, donning my granny nightgown and opting for the couch??)

Regardless, she does get a bunch of smiley faces for putting herself out there and not giving up after some major blows –and a few good lessons were learned on that mini adventure overseas… Having parted friends with Nice Guy, she (and her closest friends) can still shop wholesale in his designer showroom. And Pailey is just fine… she’s moved on to the next man in her life: Tantra, a spiritual guy who likes lying next to her to let loose the energy flow between their Chakras.

We should all be so lucky.

NOTE TO SELF: Hang on to the reins!

About Shaz

I’m 59 and never expected to be divorced and, having raised a big family in the city I grew up in, to be still living there now completely on my own. My parents are gone and my grown children have opted for smaller towns. My father passed away this past February and my children suggested I take off and make a world tour of all my friends overseas…In piecing that together in my mind, I imagined taking a boat across, as I did the first time I went to Europe with my grandmother, as a teenager – and in that vision, I imagined taking those first five days and writing. Writing about where I’d been, writing about what I want, writing about the crossing over from my past to my future.

In reestablishing myself as a single woman, I’ve made new connections with some fabulous women and realized I’m not the only one going through this; there are other women out there who are also on a journey to becoming whole again. I hope my personal adventure will help us all find humor in the aging process –and confidence in following our hearts.