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My Bucket List
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These days I am heading for the finish line. I mean, life is measured and who knows what size those measuring cups and spoons are? Over the past months I’ve realized that my mortality is more in my consciousness than ever.

The purchase of costly slipcovers for my sofa and chair in the living room goes on the list headed “The Last of my Life.” It started, I think, when I had to buy a new television to replace the old one that had gone on the spritz. Televisions are relatively cheap these days and I was able to find one, the same size as the old, at a good price. But in the forefront of qualities was the requirement that it has to last a long time. Adding to the list of “Last” purchases are my back yard landscaping and a durable rug to go with the new slipcovers. Oh, and my major remodel of my upstairs bathroom. It’s going to have a walk in shower, and I’ve got to remember to tell the contractor about grab bars.

It must be my subconscious telling me that if I want a masculine companion I’d better do it fast. But that rankles with my desire to find the perfect man who does not exist. Recently I flew to Los Angeles to visit my daughter for her birthday. It happened that the driver of the car to the airport seemed like a gregarious, talkative though not too handsome man appealed to me. We talked as he drove me to SFO, comparing activities we liked, places we have visited and want to visit, the recent deaths of our spouses, our life in the small town where we live. At my daughter’s house, the driver, Dennis and I exchanged some texts while I remembered that he likes to ride bicycles, and that he is a widower.

I made a plan to ask Dennis when I returned home to ride bikes. It would serve a couple of my wants: to re-learn bike riding, and possibly to find a companion. I bought a new bicycle a year ago and have been unable to ride it because of an irrational fear that I don’t really understand. I am a very experienced cyclist. Over the years my late husband and I took tours in Ireland, France and Greece to cycle and enjoy meeting new people and seeing the sights. We rode our bikes everywhere we lived and especially loved to ride on the coastal trails of Los Angeles and Half Moon Bay. But now, I kept making excuses about the new bike: it’s too big. It’s too heavy. I am not familiar with this one. I need someone, a man, to ride with me in case something happens.

When I returned home, I texted Dennis and told him what I was thinking. Would he help me get over this fear by riding with me? He replied of course, and we decided on a day. I pumped up the tires and searched for appropriate cycling gear in my drawers and in the garage. I have some bicycle pants with padded crotch, a fanny pack (who knew they would come back in season)? I needed a new bell for the bike in case I had to warn walkers out of the way. The bicycling day with Dennis came and I waited for his confirmation call, dressed for the event, at noon. By one thirty I realized it wasn’t going to happen. I texted him and he was sorry, he had to take a neighbor to the hospital. We chose another day, but he had to cancel that. I told him I was able to ride my bike alone, I would make myself do it because ultimately, it’s up to me. And I think that was the end of Dennis.

Before Dennis I’d joined a social media group for over-fifty people. This was brave of me because in the years after my husband died I never had the guts to put myself out there on the internet. I tried a few times, but I felt violated that strange people (men) were looking at my pictures and my answers to questions about who I am so I pulled the material off the web. Now, and I think it is because I lost weight during the pandemic and am happier with my looks, I don’t mind that much that strange men are looking at me. One of them started a dialog with me. I’m afraid his photos don’t do much for me. He looks like a skinny old guy. But he is an academic (one of my personal requirements is that a man should have an education). I would like it if he were witty and creative as well as smart, the more important quality/

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