My Whole Life

I am a one-kid illustration for glump.

glump: to look glum: FROWN

Sitting at the bottom of the stairs that lead up to the half of our storey-and-a-half house in Edmonton, my head hangs, my shoulders slump. Can you blame me for glumping? I’ve just had terrible news: to wit, the wrong answer to my question.

Are they coming home today?

The hapless live-in babysitter decides her time can be spent more productively elsewhere and retreats to the kitchen for her morning coffee, leaving me to work it out on my own. This extended absence by my parents–a whole long weekend–is probably the biggest trauma of my whole life (a full five years). I don’t remember what happened next, but evidently I did work it out (and my parents’ did finally come home) because I’m not still sitting there.

I am a one-kid illustration for anticimpatience.

anticimpatience: a mix of anticipation and impatience

Standing on the floor of the backseat of our car, my head turns from father-driver to mother-passenger and back, hoping (against all experience) for a different answer. Can you blame me for being anticimpatient? I’ve just had unwelcome news; to wit, the wrong answer to my question.

Are we there soon?

As we drive to Edmonton, the then-more-than-four-hour trip from Calgary seems endless. For me the trip is about visiting my best friend, whom I’ve known my whole life (a full eight years), but not seen for several months since we moved. There isn’t even anything to look at: the darkness past the car’s meagre headlights stretches into even more darkness over seemingly featureless fields. I don’t remember what happened next, but evidently we did finally get to Edmonton, because I’m not still standing there.

I am a one-senior illustration for bemazement.

bemazement: a mix of bemusement and amazement

Standing on the porch, I watch as a grandbaby authoritatively wheels her vehicle into our driveway, parking it with us for safekeeping as she heads home across the country on a break from university. Can you blame me for being bemazed? I’ve just had the wrong answer to my question.

Am I really this old?

Across my whole life, now almost a full 71 years, it is a bemazing thing to have clear memories of that range of experience: from endless days and hours, to blink-and-you-miss-it decades. It is bemazing to realize that I am now approaching the whole-life experience of my grandparents and parents before me.

I don’t know what will happen next, but I’m almost anticimpatient to see.


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8 Responses to My Whole Life

  1. Great new words: anticimpatience and bemazement

    As we move on in years, always good to have new words to describe experiences and feelings. Adds to the memories, and future memories

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim R – Where’s that thumbs-up icon when I need it? 🙂 As another benefit, coining new words helps me feel better about being out-of-touch with kid kultur. They use words *I* don’t know, so turnabout is fair play, sez me.

  2. Jim Taylor says:

    Awlovely recollniscences, Isabel. Isn’t it amazing how certain experiences are so firmly imprinted on our Random Access Memory that we can still see them, in full detail, many decades later. And yet thousands of minutes of the experiences that surround those memorable moments have gone. Erased. Poof!

    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – IKR? I expect someone has studied how and why some bits imprint and (for most of us) most don’t . . .

  3. Barbara Carlson says:

    At this stage of life, I have a fully packed slide show of memories running as a chyron along the bottom of my life’s screen.

  4. Judith Umbach says:

    Fabulous words! You could recruit a few of us to use those words in print, and the Oxford English Dictionary might publish them. Oh oh! Print is an ambiguous word these days. And who can afford a subscription to the OED. AND, who consults a dictionary anymore?? I have three or four, including an old OED, and still I prefer to google spellings and meanings. Particularly since I don’t have to know the spelling to find the word, the age-old complaint about dictionaries.

    Hmmm … you seem to have unintentionally started me on a rant. Call it a “senirant”, either for senior’s rant (no one else cares) or a senile rant (no one is paying attention).

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Judith – It’s catching, isn’t it? The coining of words, I mean. Re correct spelling, I find our car GPS (and my knitting site) immensely frustrating because you have to have the spelling exactly as entered in their database. Neither will attempt a reasonable inference, highlighting how bemazing Google actually is. And I think I disposed of that last dictionary in the house a few years ago – pretty much the same fate for cookbooks . . .

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