I don't know about everyone else but if, like me, you live within the path of today's eclipse or within easy driving distance, the event has been a local news story to rival President Trump.
All right, that's not quite true but it was the second or third lead many days during this past month and it has been a common topic of conversation.
A week or so ago, at a gathering on the deck of a neighbor one lovely evening, we discussed the upcoming phenomenon. We live about an hour's drive from the path of the total eclipse and not one of us had plans to make that short trip to experience it.
Even those of us who had never seen an eclipse shrugged. “A partial eclipse is fine for me,” or “I'll watch it on television,” we said. Certainly the expected 1.5 million visitors from out-of-state who are clogging the roads affected my decision.
All of us at the gathering are retired, ranging in age from about 70 to mid-eighties and our relative disinterest in the eclipse got me thinking about how age has changed my behavior. Maybe yours too.
There was a time when I would have weathered any amount of traffic to be on the spot when the mother of all lights goes out but that was a long time ago. Because I can, I arrange my life now to avoid being stuck in traffic, among other annoyances.
In recent years, I have become a dedicated homebody under most circumstances. Even two or three hours away from the house for a restaurant meal, a doctor appointment, a meeting or errands and I'm eager to return.
And although I enjoyed all my business trips throughout my work years to almost every one of the United States along with world destinations and saw places I never otherwise would have, airline travel has become so dreadful, I am not sure what could compel me to do that now.
Not to mention that travel generally doesn't fit in my retirement budget.
Many people use their retirement for travel. Some go on cruises (have you seen those prices?). Others buy RVs to take their homes with them. Those vehicles interest me in the same way that boats and tiny houses do (so clever how every inch of space is used well) but not enough to live in one, and certainly not enough to drive it.
Obviously we slow down as the years pass. When I worked, I could clean the house (well, a New York City apartment) from top to bottom in one, three-hour swoop on Saturday mornings. Now I spread it over an entire week.
It's possible that I could still get it done in one go, although not three hours, but I just don't want to. So it's a room or two a day.
One of the oddest developments for me in old age is that as my time on earth becomes demonstrably shorter, the more willing I am to put off all kinds of things until tomorrow and beyond whether it is an onerous chore or a pleasure. I don't understand that but it feels like there is always more time.
In today's case, it's not as though there will be another total eclipse in my vicinity during my lifetime, but I'm staying home anyway.
NO PATIENCE FOR DISCOMFORT
Years ago, I believed elastic waists were for old people. Now that I'm an old person, I thank god for stretchy waistbands.
I also don't try to hold in my tummy anymore. I sleep when I'm tired. And before this newly enforced meal schedule thanks to my recent surgery, I ate when I felt like it which often had nothing to do with the three usual meals a day.
It's been a couple of years since I watched a movie in a theater. The last two or three I attended, in different theaters, punched up the audio so high it actually hurt my ears. Suggested ear plugs are useless – they either don't work or irritate my ears. And sitting farther away from the screen doesn't help since there are speakers all along the walls.
So I watch movies I am interested in after they show up on television via Netflix, etc. and I don't feel like I'm missing anything.
There's more but you get the idea.
As with today's eclipse, very little feels compelling enough these days to require that I discompose myself by leaving home for too long. And anyway, there is so much to do here: books, movies, cooking, the cat, this blog, good neighbors, visitors and there is a lovely park along the river just steps from my door. Even the weekly farmer's market is only a five-minute walk.
I wasn't always like this but I'm pretty sure I am not alone in my cleaving to hearth and home in my dotage. Nevertheless, I am equally convinced that plenty of others feel differently. How about you?