The Hermit

Several of the young people I worked with and taught in New York City are now major talents in their field – starring in Broadway shows, television actors, even a film star and presenter at the Academy Awards this year. I’ve had my time, and now it’s their turn. I enjoy talking with them now and then. I am thrilled by their success. It gives me pleasure to stand back, watch, and know I might have influenced them somehow.

I’m happy to now step aside, enjoy my new life, dig in the dirt, and keep my mouth shut unless asked. Younger folks must be allowed to do things their own way, I believe.

I am in my early 40s, and “my kids” are now in their 20s and early 30s. Of course, being still at least somewhat youngish myself, I have elders too. And, a few of them are far less than gracious about letting the younger be younger. It’s a conundrum, and a fascinating lesson. And it drives me nuts.

One local elder has a comment for every project I start. Always. It starts with, “If you want to do that like the Adirondackers do …” Besides that, he complains constantly. This is a person who does not garden, and would never attempt half the things I have. So I now completely avoid him. Another older neighbor refuses to recognize the fact that I have my own plans, and a way I like to do things.

This person walks up to me and directly criticizes whatever I am doing at that specific moment. Frequently. The lack of self-awareness is amazing. If I am raking, there is some sort of “I don’t know why you’re bothering to do that” comment. If I am watering, there’s a comment about possible showers. If I am moving dirt and rubble to one place, I should be moving it somewhere else. If I am working outside, I should be thinking about building a house, not planting a tree. (These are actual examples.) And so, I have started to avoid him.

I don’t want to go out of my way to avoid people, but this whole digging-and-ripping-and-tearing-and-creating thing is fun for me. I won’t have it ruined. I begin to understand why a lot of folks around here keep pretty much to themselves. Nice folks too. It’s a real thing around here – gossip and unwanted advice. Get a load of this one straight from the local rumor mill – A good friend of mine had an operation for a spine accident. He’s very tall. He fell while on a boat. By the time the local grapevine was done with it, he had purportedly undergone a “spine reduction” operation because his extreme height was unhealthy. (I’m not kidding.)

I suppose it comes down to folks getting a little older, maybe feeling a little obsolete as the village gets younger, and not knowing any better than to stick their nose in where it doesn’t belong. However, I also recall an expression about cutting one’s nose off to spite one’s face.



Filed under adirondacks

7 responses to “The Hermit

  1. themac

    Sigh….I keep to myself too these days. Mostly because of your experience. However, I do not have any visable neighbors so that keeps the comments down. However, when we first were building, many people would drive down our driveway to check our progress.

    I’ll never forget the old man that came strolling up. At the time we just had the foundation dug and the footers were poured that day. It appeared that it was a giant hole in the ground. He asked if that was going to be our swimming pool… 😀

    Spine reduction? Is there really such a thing??? (I love how gossip flows in our small area!)

  2. Criticizing seems to be the thing to do in these times…..unfortunately, we Adirondackers have become expert at criticizing.

  3. BTW, if you want a new place to explore….go to Mountain View, near Malone, and have dinner at at Belly’s.

  4. Wait. Are you telling me there’s no truth in the rumor that you are raising a passel of ermines in order to start a traveling ermine musical? Damn rumors.

  5. … and I was looking forward to that traveling ermine musical, too. Shucks.

  6. Now you know why I live in the woods! 🙂

  7. Sandy

    I’m guilty. I find that more and more, as I get older, I want to “share my experience and knowledge” with people. I suspect your nosy and opinionated bystanders might lean toward “sharing” 95% of the time. It’s probably not criticism. And I’m finding more often nowadays, ways of doing things have changed–they have improved a lot since I did them. I discover that only after trying out or suggesting my older way of doing something.

    I find myself not having current knowledge or information in many areas. If your “helpers” are getting older, I suspect they are more in the “sharing, curious, and wanting conversation” than being critical and/or meddling.

    I never thought I’d be that way–but I start to recognize when I’m doing that myself. If you can find the patience to start a conversation with them, ask them questions etc, and hopefully they will listen to you too–it could turn into a friendship.

    See–I’m doing it again! Just listen to me, I know this or that! After all, I’m older than you. 🙂 But on the plus side, I care, I’m interested, and I am impressed with your Small Pines full of great experiences and much knowledge and very interesting topics and great sharing on your part, and I thank you for your wonderful blog.

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