Adjective: Impossible to understand or interpret.
Synonyms: Enigmatic, mysterious, unreadable, inexplicable, unexplainable, incomprehensible, impenetrable, unfathomable, unknowable.
Life is a puzzle. Inscrutable barely covers it. I used to think that at some point, it got easier. Simpler. Cleaner. Neater.
Instead, it has gone in quite the other direction. As we get older and more fragile, like has gotten profoundly complicated with no obvious answers which is to say — inscrutable. It would seem age does not limit the complexities of life. If anything, they get more complicated and difficult to address. Now you aren’t just trying to “get stuff done,” but you are trying to get it done with little or no money when you are no longer physically able to do it yourself (assuming you ever were). Since you no longer work, there’s no “waiting” for the next “extra money” to come in. It isn’t coming.
Inconvenient though it is, the rotting window still awaits as does the broken faucet, the tired old toilets and sinks (remember when they were shiny and new?), the washing machine that’s on its last legs … and a door that urgently needs painting and finishing. And the car’s rear brakes.
We’ve got the parts. What we don’t have is anyone who has the time and willingness to take care of the work. We were never handy anyway, but there was a time when we at least could hire someone to take care of business. To be fair, a fair number of them were schleppers too. Good help has always been hard to find.
Life is like a Chinese puzzle. All the piece have to go in “just so” or it the pile collapses. Meanwhile, just to liven things up, there’s a special breed of local criminals who prey on people like us. They look like normal people, but are crooks.
Are their lives so dreadful they can live with the damage they do? I know everyone needs to make a living, but I’m pretty sure my conscience would kill me for causing so much hurt to people who can ill afford it. Meanwhile, I keep getting whacked because I keep thinking these are regular people — and they’re not. Why do they want to hurt us? Because they are not very good criminals and we’re the easiest of all victims?
My son helps, but he has a life and he works and there’s only so much time …. and many of the problems just need someone handy and available to fix them. This is the stuff that neighbors used to do but we don’t have that kind of neighbor. Not the kind of people who help clear the snow … or offer to help with errands. Or even say “Hi.”
So this won’t improve. However inscrutable life is now, it’s bound to get worse. The money that disappeared into the water heater and the door and the parts to repair the brakes and the rotting downstairs window that I can’t replace and needs boarding up? On permanent hold.
I can’t even enlist anyone to help me paint the inside of the door or finish the outside of it. I can’t get the new faucet I bought installed in the bathroom. No one is ever going to properly clean the house. I do my best, but my best isn’t very good. It isn’t that I don’t want to. I DO want to but I can’t and I doubt I’ll ever be able to do it again.
When you live in a house and you see it start to disintegrate, at first it seems like no big deal. A little bit of this, a pinch of that. Little things. It’s only when it starts to accumulate that you realize you are in actual trouble.
So what’s left? Will we outlive the decline of our house? Maybe not. If we can time our certain demise to conclusion of this house’s usefulness, that would be a mitzvah. Of sorts.
Did I mention the washing machine is on its way out? While they kids lived here, they beat the hell out of it, so I’m not surprised. The new ones aren’t built as well as the old ones and I’ve already been warned that we can expect a maximum of eight or nine years. By which time our car will be pretty old too.
It’s nice to have something to look forward to.
All of this is keeping me up at night. Just little stuff but little stuff with the potential of becoming bigger stuff. The longer it goes undone, the more potential crisis lies in wait. The world may be entering an exponential stage of scientific growth and development, but here at home, I can’t afford new door knobs or a washing machine and I live in terror of needing a new car. Ever.
There’s a gigantic split between the brilliant future that is waiting for humanity — and the gradual collapse of the lives we live. The great things we dreamed of will happen, but they won’t have anything to do with us.
The brilliant future will be for the young, wealthy, and healthy. We are none of those.