Sunday, August 7, 2011

So Forlorn am I

If I were to don rose-colored glasses, and - in the privacy of my own home, of course - slip into Pollyanna's dress, I might be heartened when I consider last week and take solace because I did not become forlorn until Tuesday. But when I look back without the accouterments of foolish optimism, I realize growing forlorn on Tuesday is to spend the greater part of the week "desolate or dreary; unhappy or miserable, as in feeling, condition, or appearance," in the words of the Random House Dictionary.

You see, on Tuesday I saw the doctor about my eyes. But my forlornness has nothing to do with my eyes; they are, the doctor said, in pretty good shape for the shape they're in. In truth, I was forlorn before I saw the doctor. Hoping that if Nancy and I arrived early I might get out early, I was in the waiting room nearly an hour before the scheduled time. Unfortunately, while I was excessively prompt, the doctor was exceedingly late. But that has nothing to do with my forlorn state.

Well, perhaps it does, at least indirectly. The extended stay in the waiting room gave me time to think. And what I thought about was the music that played softly in the background. It was restful, relaxing music. Inoffensive, easy-to-ignore music. It was music from the sixties: "Hang on, Sloopy," "Ob-La-De, Ob-La-Da," "Let's Hang On," and countless other songs popular when I was in high school.

They weren't gussied-up versions. They weren't the work of an arranger attempting to channel Bach or Mozart in order to transform "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" into a string quartet. Nor were they syrupy sweet instrumentals in the style of Andre Kostelanetz, Frank Chacksfield, Enoch Light or any of the others who made easy listening so difficult.

No, these were, in the words of the K-Tel commercials "the original hits by the original stars." The music my parents said grated on their nerves; the music ministers said was a sign of the apocalypse; the music politicians said proved the country was going to hell in a hand basket was now little more than white noise. And I realized as I sat there, when the music of your youth becomes elevator music, you're old. That's why I'm forlorn.

Alas, two days later, I was forlorner. Thursday was President Obama's birthday. While I never paid much attention to his age, I was aware that, for the first time in my life, the President had to respect me because I am his elder. But it wasn't until Thursday that I realized how much respect I was due. The President celebrated his fiftieth birthday on August 4, which means he's thirteen years, three month and twenty-three days my junior. But who's counting. Besides, I'm too forlorn to talk about it.

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