HOW TO BE A RECLUSE--2014 STYLE
|Winter in Northeastern Indiana|
Bad weather in the past several weeks--temps 'way below zero, high winds, snow (all three together sometimes)--made me thankful for some of our current technological advances.
|Less than a year old but already obsolete|
--thus doth technology advance.
- order Christmas and birthday gifts online
- check my daughter's flight itinerary
- check the weather every few hours to see if I might get out to a local store
- check the weather to see what was closed or delayed
- check the weather and news to see what our level of danger was--mostly emergency vehicles only--that let me out
So I took the dog out for brief periods; thirty seconds was one of our shortest, setting a record. But that day the high was -3 degrees, so it was perfectly reasonable.
Otherwise I stayed indoors, wrapped gifts I already had, worked on the ones I was knitting or sewing, and listened to Christmas carols or watched White Christmas for the 359th time in 2013.
And it occurred to me how easily I could become a recluse--a person who, according to my Webster's 10th Edition, leads a secluded or solitary life. (Note: Recluse is similar to Hermit; however, a hermit often, but not always, chooses the solitary life for religious reasons.)
Let's look at this recluse business in a practical manner.
Take, for example, the services available for the homebound:
- chain grocery stores have websites on which you can order your groceries and have them delivered locally
- pharmacies advertise delivery service
- some companies send refrigerated trucks around town to deliver frozen foods--especially meats and desserts--to individuals who have regular or once-in-a-while accounts
- bookmobiles are a boon to the reader, or video viewer--just call and have the materials put on the van (you have to be a library patron)
- in our county, a local area transport (not a taxi service) is available through the senior center/Council on Aging to take patients to the doctor, or seniors without vehicles to shop at our grocery and discount stores; the cost is minimal
I'm getting the feeling that my car is superfluous...so I ask myself: why pay high prices at the pump, keep up insurance premiums, schedule regular maintenance, and fix everything that's starting to go wrong on my 14-year-old vehicle? I can save tons of money (gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs add up) and use my savings to pay a modest fee to the local transport to get me to shopping, doctor appointments, and yoga or T'ai Chi classes at the senior center.
Clearly, a senior citizen can get by with (1) a cell phone, (2) a computer with Internet access, and (3) friends or family to take up the slack.
The letter carriers on my route take my bill payments and personal notes and letters. They'd probably pick up my numerous Christmas cards. And I know they'll pick up packages if I want to mail them--just log on to the USPS site and print out a label. I can even request stamps from the carrier--next-day delivery.
If I need someone to clear my driveway of snow, I can phone. Same for leaf raking. And gutter cleaning. My cell calls their cell.
If I get nervous about a physical condition, I can look it up on the 'web first, then call a doctor.
The downside: There always is one, it seems:
- I can't see fabrics in person, when I order them from the Internet or a catalog.
- I can't feel yarn and gauge the softness to determine if it would be good for a baby hat.
- I can't look over the produce, if I order online, and see spots on a yellow pepper that would make me reject it.
- I don't get to see my children or friends face to face
- sometimes I don't even get to church, if roads are bad and snow is drifting dangerously
|Greatgranddaughter's hat (r.) |
and her doll's hat (l.)
But--I think I'm okay with the downside. I've already stockpiled enough fabric and yarn to last me through the next eight to ten years, even if I make something new every week. The spots on the yellow pepper? I'll cut them out. The pepper will probably end up in veggie soup or a pot of ratatouille anyway.
I haven't yet activated the camera on my laptop or set up a Skype account. As soon as I do that I can visit with the far-flung members of our clan--see them face to face. And I keep in touch with other church members via email and phone. (Yes, a whole raft of senior citizens with cell phones and laptops. Gotta love that group.)
So if you don't see me around town or wonder if I'm traveling out and about, remember that I might be trying out the reclusive life. And if I do give it a go, I'll report back.
I have a sneaking suspicion though--once spring arrives (May, June, whenever) I'll be out in my yard, walking the dog around the block, stopping to speak to neighbors...guess it's easier to be a recluse when the weather is nasty.