Peter Goes to the Mall

A few columns ago I mentioned that I wasn’t especially hard on myself if I had trouble remembering something. I probably should have been a little more specific about that, as I certainly wouldn’t want you to think that I was going through Life like a “potty” Peter Sellers character, getting by mainly through the kindness ( and tolerance  😉 ) of others.

No, I realize what is really important and take steps to make note of it, whether I put it on my phone or even go “old school” and apply cursive script and Arabic numbers to a wall calendar, as can be faintly discerned by close perusal of the attached photograph. ( Note that some difficulty may be experienced when attempting to actually read the relevant entries, because my dear father endowed me with terrible handwriting, inter alia. )

I stick to an established routine at home in order to ensure that I take my various and sundry medications at the proper time and in the proper order. 

As I have previously mentioned, we have an established routine every morning which rarely varies. We get up when we feel like it, sit together on the couch and watch the news. Our phones are on the table, and we ignore them unless an important call, such as from the doctor, comes in. If someone or something previously unknown to us is mentioned during the newscast, we don’t “drop everything” to look online. We find that hand held devices can be very distracting, so we leave them down until we’ve finished “our breakfast”. 

That doesn’t mean that we watch the news in silence, however. It’s a pleasure to be able to sit and have a good discussion about current events, and I have found it very empowering to be able to say, albeit only on rare occasions, that I am not sure about a certain subject. After “breakfast” is done, then we can go online to get educated about the topic. It’s a learning experience for both of us, and such a pleasure to be in a mutually supportive relationship.

Speaking of the news, it’s funny how the “hive mentality” works. For example, earlier this week, there was a snow warning issued for the southern Ontario region. We were advised that driving would be treacherous, even on some of the major roads.

Betty and I looked at each other and were grateful that we didn’t have to pay much attention to that impending situation. There are many benefits to being retired, and NOT having to worry about the commute is definitely one of them. I am also confident that building management will keep the floor between our front door and the elevator passable. In our case, we are pretty self sufficient here at Chez Montreuil-Stevenson, and anything that we might need is available at the mall which is about 400 metres from the front door of our building.

Fortunately, I keep active, so getting to the mall is very easy, and armed with my debit card and our loyalty cards and a shopping list, I am ready to go. Of course, I take my trusty phone with me, so I can keep Betty aware of any problems which may arise, including cream cheese flavour options.

When I get to the mall, the fact that I worked almost exclusively with the public has been an advantage to me, even during, (especially during??), the pandemic. I can empathize with the cashiers, and do my best to convey my patience to them in the face of the abuse and other disruptive behaviour which others display on occasion.

If I have the opportunity, I will share a joke or a “bon mot” with them. If they are busy, on the other hand, I simply nod politely, pick up my purchase and leave. At least that’s my intention. From time to time, however, I have found myself getting “called back” and gently reminded that since I had paid for the items, I could leave the store with them. Very embarrassing, Loyal Reader, especially if there’s a lineup of witnesses. Sometimes it’s a disadvantage to be 6’2″, I tell you.

As I said earlier, I stay as mentally and physically active as possible. I use any means necessary to remember important things, such as medical appointments. CoCo is an invaluable source of information regarding the local cat food situation, as an example.

What I don’t do anymore is worry about things which have no immediate impact on or relevance to my life. For example, if I can’t remember the American League home run champion of 1966 off the top of my head, I look it up. Just not during breakfast.

See you soon. 


A confirmed Cat person, Peter dabbled with being a water boy, a paper boy and an altar boy before finally settling on a career with the Canadian federal government.  Once, in his youth, he ate a Dutch  oven full of mashed potatoes to win a 5 cent bet with his beloved sister Mary’s boyfriend. (Of course he was much younger and a nickel went a lot farther!))

He has retired to palatial “Chez Montreuil”, which he shares with his little buddy CoCo the Fashionable. He is blessed to have the beautiful Betty in his life. He is not only a plastic aircraft modeller, but a proud “rivet counter”. Military aviation and live music are among other interests of his, and he tries to get out to as many shows as he can. He will be here for your enlightenment whenever the stars align. Profile photo courtesy of Pat Blythe, caricature courtesy of Peter Mossman.


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