Family Life

Episode 37 – The Jogger

“There he goes, lap one,” Denny is sitting in the living room, watching the jogger who is doing little more than walking, but he’s got the arm movement down.

I throw Denny an orange I’ve just retrieved from the refrigerator and it hits his hand. He is startled.

“Good shot,” I exclaim.

“You hit my hand. If I would have had it open I would have caught it.”

My mind goes back to how desperately I wanted to be on the basketball team, shooting hoops, in Junior High. Once I was even given a chance to go to a game with the team because a couple of players were missing. But I sat on the sidelines the entire game. I confess I harbored some unpleasant feelings toward the coach. Ever since, I’ve been trying to perfect my shot.

Denny and I have traded places and he is in the kitchen.

“Do you want a smoothie? I’m making a smoothie.”

“What’s in it?”

“Mango, whey, yoghurt.”

I am thinking about my “belly fat.” But, I can’t say no, and sit and watch Denny drink a smoothie. I ask him to make me one.

“I don’t ever see you using your fancy pen?” I gave Denny a pen with his name engraved on it for Christmas. It is lying on the coffee table, or ottoman, between us. The ottoman is brown and big and square with storage underneath. Our laptops are sitting on the ottoman, one at each corner.

“I don’t use pens. I don’t write anything with pens.”

Denny has gone completely digital.

I take a sip of my smoothie. It’s a bit sour. We are on a health kick now. I think Denny may have lost a pound or two. His belly is flattening out a bit.

So the dilemma is what are we going to do with our day. It’s Saturday. My day off. I work on Sunday.

I was going to babysit the grandkids but Denny didn’t think it was a good idea. He is the one who has to watch me struggle to get to work on Sunday which happens to be his day off. So he tries to look out for me by making me take it easy on Saturday.

Babysitting was a bit of a last minute request anyway. I tell myself I will see the grandkids another time. I always want to say yes, while Denny is just the opposite. We have already agreed to babysit for Valentine’s, Denny reminded me.

“On round two,” Denny announces the jogger coming into view again.

I glance outside at the jogger, who is walking, and then back to my computer, “Lately I’ve been writing even when I don’t feel jolly. I have to keep going, otherwise it won’t get done. I hope my writing will still be ok. At first I was only going to write when I was happy.”

“That’s what I have to do too. Be perky for the kids. Be perky even if I don’t feel like it. If I won’t be perky then they won’t be perky either. The modern term for that is to centre your self. I don’t really know what that means. I think it means suck it up and get over it and do it. Be brave. Don’t focus on all the negative stuff. Just focus on the job at hand.”

I look over to the chairs sitting upside down on the table, the way my mom taught me, waiting for me to wash the floor and put them down again. One easy way to tell if I’ve been too busy is by how long it’s been since I’ve washed the floor and it’s been a month.

“This is how you wipe the feet of the chairs,” I walk over and demonstrate for Denny how I clean the felt pads under the feet of the chairs, with a lint brush.

Denny opens the dishwasher and starts to fill it. I can tell he has absolutely zero interest. He thinks this is completely unnecessary.

“You need to learn this so that when I’m not around you don’t have puffs of hair and stuff around the bottom of the feet.” Now I walk over to him and show him how to clean the lint remover, using a paper towel. All I get is one quick glance from Denny. He never intends to clean the feet of the chairs. I can see that.

I finish cleaning the chair feet and wash the floor and then I return to my writing.

Today I was thinking about my old story, the one I quit writing. Something is missing. There is no real action. Throw a murder into the middle, one author suggested. Well I already have one. I don’t think I want to add another.

I hear banjo and Denny singing.

Diggy Liggy Li loved Diggy Liggy Lo

Everybody knew he was her beau

No body else could ever show

So much love for Diggy Liggy Lo.

It’s a lively little jig. One of my favorite songs of Denny’s. I think it could be about us, “No body else could every show, So much love for Diggy Liggy Lo.”

People like Denny’s singing. When you are in a band I learned you have to keep a balance and not give one person more songs than the others. Musicians are sensitive that way. But people love his songs.

Denny and I sometimes try to sing together. We have good harmonies. We don’t have the right synergy to perform together, though. I think it’s because we both want to lead.

“It will probably take another two hours to reboot,” Denny tells me of my old IBM laptop. Denny is trying to get it going because I want to watch some exercise videos on it that a friend loans me. It has a DVD player and my MacBook Air doesn’t.

Denny says I should get rid of the old beast.

I remember how it was like new when we installed Windows 7 Professional. I have difficulty accepting that it is basically obsolete.

Computers age so quickly. Four computer years is like seventy human years. I complain to Denny about computer updates that slow them down.

“That’s Windows for you,” Denny says.

The computer has finally booted up and Denny is working to get the video to view on our TV screen. “I can’t get it to play on iTunes.”

The computer is a dinosaur. It’s at least eight years old. Like my computer at work.

Just like Denny no longer has any use for pens, he no longer has any use for DVD’s or CD’s. “You can get all that online—whatever you want.”

This week Denny came in the door with my CD case in his hand. He found it in his car. I thought it had been stolen three years ago when his car was broken into.

I am delighted. I feel like a missing piece of my life has returned. The case contains my favorite CD collection.

Denny found the CD case in his office at work.

“CD’s are an old thing. People don’t do that anymore. Where are you going to play them? You could play them in your car. You could rip them onto your old computer and then upload them onto your new computer. But that’s such an old thing, it would take forever. I don’t even know if it would work. Don’t buy anymore CD’s.”

The world is changing too quickly for me. I feel I can’t keep up. I have learned to buy music off of iTunes on my phone. But ditching my CD’s?

“Can’t you get them off of iTunes?” Denny asks.

That would cost money. Doesn’t Denny know that?

“CD players are big awkward things that take up so much space,” Denny is referring to our old player in his office. He doesn’t want to bring it to our condo.

“Where would we put it?”

I could think of a place, but I don’t say it. Maybe he is right. It would mess up our decor.

I have to move on, leave the old. Embrace the new.

I tell myself that if I’ve managed for three years without my music, I have adjusted. I tell myself I don’t really want a clunky CD player in the house.

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