TOO MUCH TOGETHERNESS by Linda O'Connell
♦ My husband Bill retired a few years before I did. He had plenty of leisure time to himself while I was at school teaching small ones. When I retired, my dreams of day trips, visiting
museums, and hometown attractions soon got old
and fizzled. Retirement was not as exciting as I
imagined it would be. But every now and then, I
get a good laugh and a thrill at Bill's expense.
As my days became more relaxed and routine, I
found I had more time to write, but less
inclination to do so. When I was working, I used
to rise before daybreak when the house was still,
and the only sound Bill made was rhythmic
snoring. I would write for two hours.
When I no longer had to squeeze time in to
write, I slept in. We spent an hour watching the
news and sipping coffee instead of my rushing
about and gulping on the run. We lost track of
time, and the morning was gone before we knew
it. I missed making time for my writing.
Bill became not only my greatest companion,
but my worst distraction. He would suggest a
meal out, a shopping trip to the big box stores, or
a trip to the mall on impulse. Maybe this is how
he had spent his days for the past few years of his
retirement, but I was used to order. He operated
on a get-up-and-go-on-a-whim schedule. When
we weren‘t on the go, we were in two different
rooms engaged in separate activities.
He has hearing aids, but unless he's leaving the
house, he prefers shouting, ―What? when I
speak, or he‘d rather blare the television volume.
As I tried to write the thoughts in my head, I
invariably wrote the words Arnold
Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, or John Wayne
said. Watching TV wasn‘t the same. My evening
sitcoms were nothing like his daytime viewing
preferences. He likes action films, shoot-em ups,
crime shows... and the noisy disruptions wore me
When he watched his shows, I tried to write my
stories. Even with the office door closed I could
hear the TV in the living room blaring. There was
continual grunting, groaning, a thwack, more
grunting. My first thought was someone was
getting beat up. His first choice of movie viewing
is one with physical interaction, preferably a
brawl. The loud, primal groaning continued. It
sounded almost obscene. I would not listen to
those groans another minute. I stormed into the
living room to give my honey a piece of my
mind, ask him how he expected me to write.
Then I saw what was going on. He was watching
a women‘s Wimbledon tennis match.
Guilt-ridden, I looked at Venus Williams and felt
terrible. I hadn‘t broken a sweat all day, I
had eaten a waffle with whipped cream and
strawberries for breakfast, and had been all set
to nag my hard-of-hearing honey for watching
such trash. Sometimes I laugh long and loud at
But I also can‘t help laughing at him, too.
―Look at her movements, I said. ―We're getting
Guilt or the urge to get exercise struck him as
he observed Venus sweating it out. He switched
off the TV and suggested a jaunt around the mall
As we drove, I looked at my cell phone. ―Get
this! I said from the passenger seat as we were
driving down the highway. He does not wish to
have a Facebook account and relies on me
to read aloud something mind boggling, spell
binding, or unbelievable from my feed.
He raised his index finger to his right ear and
tuned his hearing aid higher so he didn‘t miss a
When I paused, he gave me a split-second
glance and said, ―Who's that from? Who sent that
Is he serious? I've told him a million times, ―I
don't know. He thinks I'm messing with him, withholding
pertinent information. I told him ―It's just a
friend. ―How can it be a friend if you don't know who
it is? Instead of keeping the ball rolling I told him
the name of who it was from.
―Who's that? he asked.
―I. Don't. Know. ―Well, they sent it to US. How do we know
Through clenched teeth, I said. ―We DON'T
know them. It's a friend of a friend. ―
Then why are they sending it to US? ―
It's on the WWW, I say.
Before I could explain, world wide web, he
said, ―When did you get into wrestling? Some days I want to put him in a headlock!
We are striving for balance. Bill comes to my
aid at a moment's notice to help me with the
computer, and I share social media gossip with
him. But that's as far as it goes when it comes to
technology. He is not interested in social media,
and I can't figure out which cloud my work
lands on each day.
Our relationship was new and exciting when
we were young and active. Now that the Golden
Years have arrived, our daily pace is slower, and
life involves many unexpected laughs and goofy
grins. I like this stage of life were in!