Social Gatherings By Jackie

Those two words are such a mine field social outings – I have a vague memory of cinema, of theatre, of parties…………
 
Let’s start at the beginning;
can we plan them? …….only if your friends truly do understand the problems and are prepared for possible last minute cancellations, so that’s when I usually think maybe easier not to bother than risk being a nuisance.
 
Decision made to make a date to go out, but before we can finalise the arrangements we need to know: how to get there, and home again. So we have to be certain that we can easily get a taxi to get home later, and is a bus possible to get there, or will that need to be a taxi too? All adds to the cost! Also adds to the fatigue if there is much travelling. If someone offers to pick you up, will they realise you need to get in a front seat and have plenty of leg room. Can’t bend and twist to get in back, and if someone in the back they had better have short legs, or maybe just not bother as being such a nuisance.
 
If like me, you have had to retire from working, then the cost of any outing is an important factor now. Taxis can add a huge amount, cinemas, theatres, are all expensive these days, so an outing which you may not even enjoy can make a considerable dent in your finances, maybe just not bother then.
 
When we get there, depending on where we are going, are we guaranteed a seat? Is it a seat we will be comfortable to sit in for the evening? Is it one we will be able to get out of with any degree of elegance? You can, of course then be thought of as stand offish if you manage to get a comfy seat and don’t mingle- I used to joke that I needed my throne so everyone could come to me! But then again maybe just not bother instead of being a nuisance.
 
Assuming we will have a drink, will it be in a glass we can drink from? I have fused neck and little movement so the glass is important – or just give me a straw!!  A champagne flute for example, is a nightmare….. So if it’s a party with everyone standing with a champagne flute and a plate with nibbles. I’d better not go just in case I am a nuisance.
 
What to wear? I don’t have  many “Dressy” clothes these days as I don’t go out, but depending on what the outing is for will dictate what to wear to be comfy, to allow for sitting for a long time, to allow for some inelegant getting out of chairs etc then again, maybe not bother in case I am a nuisance.
 
In fact my social life is made up of going to a shopping centre with my mum once or twice a week, depending on how I am and the weather. The shopping centre is all on one level and plenty of seats throughout. Also I can get a trolley as I go in and keep in though all the shops, so nothing to carry.
 
The other exciting excursions are medical ones, to doctor, to hospitals, and sometimes, like this week, 2 in one day!!
 
Then, the most regular social life I have is with my twitter and FB friends. I chat with some of them every day. I don’t have to worry about what I look like, what the seating is like, can I drink from the glass. This could be construed as being a bit  lazy, I agree, but as all my friends are working, and all have busy lives of their own, and as I find I am not good in being with a group of people these days, it is a life saver for me. 
 
I am here for people to visit, but that’s not a very exciting prospect when people have been working hard all week, and people just stop asking me out as I always refuse, however I could go visit them during the day, but they only have daytime at the weekend and they have busy lives. I also don’t have to rush around cleaning and tidying in preparation for visits, not that friends are critical, it’s me that knows what I would like to do, what I can’t do, what I always feel I have to apologise for. Of course if I run around doing what I think I can cope with there is always the chance that I will be so knackered I am not up to having them round.
 
In my bleakest days I feel all I do is sit, on my own, with cat (S) reading or watching TV, except going to the Gyle (shopping centre) and looking round M&S.  When I am in the house, I look around and see the shabbiness and it is depressing and I know I can’t do it myself, and I have no one to do it for me, if I pay for someone to do it for me, the money will not be made up again anytime soon due to my situation, so can I live with it or not, does it matter or not as rarely does anyone else see it.
 
 Is this living? Or is this just existing? My answer varies from day to day, right now, as I have been sitting here a while typing so my knuckles have swollen up, my back and neck are aching from sitting in the same position, in honesty I don’t know.
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4 Responses to “Social Gatherings By Jackie”

  1. Oh my , Jackie, almost word per word, or thought per thought, amazing. As always you “get it” often times when I read your work, I think dang that girl looks into my soul. I guess it is because we are the mirror images. Wonderful job as always.

  2. Penny said…
    We are so similar I can relate to everything you have written. It gets to the stage where it is far easier and less stressful to just stay in but that isolates us even more. Thank goodness for social sites as this is now where I get my socialising from, remember this though, our bodies may be letting us down but our brains are still in good working order, carry on writing, carry on telling people how it is for you and maybe we can get some understanding.

    5 September 2011 05:03
    tearose68 said…
    I am finding your blog posts very informative but also heartbreaking. I am so glad you have twitter and FB but wish you had so many other things too. You should write a book and bring this awful disease to peoples attention. Your writing is wonderful. Xx R

  3. LadyGoGo said…
    Meant to post this here….

    Hey Sweets,
    I hate these bleak, miserable days when everything seems awfully grey and depressing. But only 4 days ago you wrote “Not so bad really” and you lifted my day and made me realise I’m lucky I can still enjoy the small things.

    In my worst flare up’s of RSD I think – what’s the point? Why would any one visit me in this state? But my twitter and facebook friends have been my life lines. I’ve made some of my best friends without even meeting them face to face and even bagged myself a (real life!!) boyfriend from chatting online!

    People like you being frank and honest only opens people’s eyes and you make them realise that there is joy in all things whether a giant cup coffee for you or a mug of hot chocolate for me! (One of my little pleasures)
    L xxx

  4. I feel your pain as I had a family gathering this weekend that I felt I had to attend. I would like to add one thing, The dreaded question I always get, “What have you been up to?” The question I never know how to answer because the truth is i go to work, come home so exhausted that I sit and watch TV…no much of a life…

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